Pantanal wetlands

Image of the Month - April 2019

Pantanal wetland location in South America
    Paraguay river virtual station (Envisat track #0235), 2002-2011
    Paraguay river virtual station (Jason track #037) since 2008, updated operationally
Sentinel-2 optical image over part of the Pantanal area for 2019-02-06: the mix of waters and vegetation (in red) is clearly shown (Credits Sertit/ICube)
Sentinel-2 optical image over part of the Pantanal area for 2019-02-06: the mix of waters and vegetation (in red) is clearly shown (Credits Sertit/ICube)
Photo of the Pantanal area in July 2018, during the seasonal flood (Credits PA Garambois)
Photo of the Pantanal area in July 2018, during the seasonal flood (Credits PA Garambois)
Altimetry-computed virtual station on the Paraguay river in the Pantanal area, with Sentinel-3A and Jason tracks overlaid (Credits Hydroweb)
Altimetry-computed virtual station on the Paraguay river in the Pantanal area, with Sentinel-3A and Jason tracks overlaid (Credits Hydroweb)
Wetland categories map over the Pantanal area, from the Center for International Forestry Research Global wetlands web (https://www.cifor.org/global-wetlands/); the box indicates the Sentinel-2 image location.
Wetland categories map over the Pantanal area, from the Center for International Forestry Research Global wetlands web (https://www.cifor.org/global-wetlands/); the box indicates the Sentinel-2 image location.

Wetlands (non-rivers or lakes) have been much disparaged: source of epidemics, lands wasted for agriculture, etc. However the services wetlands are providing to the environment on biodiversity as well as climate, but also to economy, in particular by helping to mitigate disasters like floods or droughts, are more and more understood and recognized. Wetlands are now often protected areas, and labelled biodiversity hotspots.
The Pantanal wetlands are the largest tropical wetlands on Earth with a surface of 150 000 km2. It shows a complex mix of tropical forest, savannah, and aquatic environments, with highly variable annual and interannual flood cycles. Annual floods may last as long as six months and cover as much as 100,000 km2. Altimetry water surface levels on the Paraguay river, one of the rivers feeding these wetlands clearly show this cycle and the amplitude of the floods, of about 4 m, while optical images such as Sentinel-2's show the flood spatial extend and the complexity of the area. Swot will enable to see both the temporal variations and the spatial complexity of the Pantanal wetlands' flooding.

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