Project gallery @home edition 2020

Climate Detectives @home is an ESA education project that challenges, students aged 12 – 18 years, and families to monitor our planet from home by looking from above.

From their vantage point in space, astronauts and satellites can see both the beauty and the fragility of our planet. You can also observe Earth from home and work like a real Earth scientist!

Participants were asked to choose an Earth observation image, using the EO Browser online tool, the ESA Earth Observation Image of the week gallery or the ESA astronauts’ Flickr accounts. In addition to the image, participants had to provide a short description linking the image to a climate problem.


Project title: The Colors of Utah’s Great Salt Lake

Category: Oceans and water bodies

Author: Ioana Stoica Student’s age: 16 years old

Image source: ESA EO image of the week


This image, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, shows Utah’s Great Salt Lake. It is a remnant of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which covered up most of Utah. The wild color differences between the lake’s different sections are owed to human activity. This activity has, unfortunately, taken a toll on local biodiversity over the past century.

The line in the image’s upper side is actually a railroad. It acts as a dam, preventing northern and southern waters from mixing. The lake lacks outlets and is fed by three freshwater affluents, two affluents being on the southern side. Thus, the northern half is much saltier, providing the green color of the water and the lake’s nickname, “America’s Dead Sea”. These waters are only inhabited by brine shrimp and flies.

In the image’s lower part we can also see bright blue near one of the islands, as well as in the upper right corner, although here the color is closer to shore. Both locations are evaporation ponds, built by humans to efficiently collect the lake’s salt. Although they keep the southern waters even fresher than usual by helping to remove salt, they greatly restrict the habitat of the native birds and algae.

Images and descriptions are submitted by the teams/individuals and they take the full responsibility of the shared data.

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