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Climate Change and the Pyrenees, Spain and France

42.4N 1.5E

March 3rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Mountains

Spain – March 2nd, 2013

Europe’s mountain regions may suffer some of the most severe impacts of climate change. Increasing temperatures can change snow-cover patterns and lead to water shortages. Species may also face extinction if unable to move northward or uphill.

Temperatures are rising faster in mountainous regions, making them particularly vulnerable to climate change. Glaciers in the Pyrenees, whose snow-capped peaks are visible in the upper right quadrant, along the France-Spain border, have shrunk considerably over the past 150 years.


Snowfall Over the Alps and Fog Across Northern Italy

45.4N 9.1E

February 17th, 2013 Category: Mountains

Italy – January 26th, 2013

The Alps, one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, are covered in snow in this winter image. The mountains stretch approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight countries from Austria and Slovenia in the east, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, France to the west and Italy and Monaco to the south. Here, a fog can be seen extending over northern Italy, from the Alps, across the valley of the River Po, to the northern slopes of the Apennines.

Snow Atop the Pyrenees, France and Spain

42.6N 1.0E

February 13th, 2013 Category: Mountains

Spain and France – January 25th, 2013

Snow sits atop the peaks of the Pyrenees, a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain, with the tiny country of Andorra sandwiched in between. The range also separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 491 km (305 mi) from the Bay of Biscay (Cap Higuer) to the Mediterranean (Cap de Creus).

The Pyrenees are older than the Alps: their sediments were first deposited in coastal basins during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. The eastern part of the Pyrenees consists largely of granite and gneissose rocks, while in the western part the granite peaks are flanked by layers of limestone. The massive and unworn character of the chain comes from its abundance of granite, which is particularly resistant to erosion, as well as weak glacial development.

Sediments in Gironde Estuary and Around Île d’Olerón, France

44.5N 2.9W

November 23rd, 2012 Category: Sediments

France – November 22nd, 2012

Sediments pour from the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers, through the Gironde Estuary, and into the Bay of Biscay. They also frame the shores of western France, near the estuary, and surround the Île d’Oléron, an island due west of Rochefort, on the southern side of the Pertuis d’Antioche strait. With an area of about 174 km2, it is the second largest French island after Corsica.

Plume of Smoke from Fire in Southern France

43.6N 3.8E

September 10th, 2012 Category: Fires

France – August 26th, 2012

Firefighters are working to try to control a series of forest fires in the south of France, near Montpellier and Marseille. The biggest, around Montaud and Saint-Bauzille-de-Montmel in the Hérault countryside north of Montpellier, destroyed more than 2,600 hectares of woodland and a dozen homes. Here, a plume of smoke from a fire blows in a curved, southeasterly direction over the Mediterranean Sea.

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