Contest 2023 for best satellite image of Earth

"Seize the beauty of our Planet" contest for the best satellite image of Earth
Together for Cool Earth! 

'Seize the beauty of our Planet' contest - 4th edition

Welcome to the page of the 4th edition of the contest “Seize the beauty of our Planet” for the best satellite image of the Earth, organised by CloudFerro. This edition focuses on GLOBAL WARMING. That is why, the contest motto is: Together for Cool Earth! The goal of this year's contest is to support the joint effort of many European and international organisations in tackling global warming on Earth. As a Copernicus Relay, CloudFerro also aims to promote the use of Copernicus Earth observation data in environmental research, showing a key role it plays in efficient and cost-effective monitoring of environmental changes. The contest has received the patronage of the Polish Space Agency.

Thank you all who joined our contest. The phase of collecting the images, public voting and voting by a Jury have come to an end. The winners were announced during a LIVE event on November 9th, 2023. See the recording of Winners Announcement 2023.

It is the fourth time we have invited the users of our EO platforms to join this competition. This year we were looking for the most outstanding imagery depicting the effects of global warming. The images were generated on Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem, CREODIAS, WEkEO, CODE-DE or EO-Lab - the platforms developed. co-developed and operated by CloudFerro. The winners were selected by internet users, who voted for the best 13 images, and then a Jury, who chose the top three entries that took the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The Jury was composed of Pierre Philippe Mathieu from the European Space Agency (ESA), Peter Wagner from the German Aerospace Agency (DLR), Joana Miguens from the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), Agnieszka Gapys from the Polish Space Agency (POLSA), Justyna Redelkiewicz from the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA),  Geoff Sawyer from the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC), and Stephane Ourevitch from EU Space Support Office.

As the voting phase has come to an end, we can finally announce the winners.

The winners of the 4th edition of the contest 'Seize the beauty of our Planet' for the best satellite image of global warming:

1st place
Water in the desert - by Lorenzo Amici from Italy

One of Earth's driest regions, Death Valley in the US, experiences flash floods from Hurricane Hilary. In a single day, August 20, Building reliable Earth observation data processing with temporal.docx 2023, the rainfall exceeded the average annual precipitation, making history as Death Valley's rainiest day ever (Copernicus Sentinel-2, August 26, 2023)

2nd place
Melting and Disappearing - Alaska's Columbia Glacier - by Kamil Onoszko from Poland

Columbia Glacier in Alaska (USA), one of the fastest melting glaciers globally due to climate change, serves as a stark reminder of our impact on the environment and the urgent need for climate action. The satellite image was taken by Copernicus Sentinel-2 on July 30, 2023.

3rd place
The Wrath of Achelous - by Jakub Wołosz from Poland

A gigantic flooded area resulting from heavy rains, near the Trinkala city, Greece. The phenomenon is shown on a modified false-color mosaic, where vegetation appears in the shades of red. The flood damaged mainly croplands, which can be observed as reddish rectangles under the blue layer of  water. Copernicus Sentinel2-L2A. 10 September 2023.

Flash floods in Lindi, Tanzania - by Innocent Novart from Tanzania

The 2023 warmer temperatures caused unprecedented heavy rains and flash floods in Tanzania. This image shows the flood that occurred in Lindi region. Notice the inland lake formed as a result of the floods and the eroded soil flushed into the Indian Ocean. Copernicus Sentinel-2, 5 May 2023.

Flooded Emilia Romagna - by Mattia Koren from Italy

Consequences of the flood that hit the Emilia Romagna region in Italy, rainwater flows into the Adriatic Sea. Copernicus Sentinel-2, 05-05-2023.

A Satellite's Spectrum of Water Colors After Flooding - by Ewa Bubula from Poland

Post-extreme heat, Greece faced floods of the century. Image from Sentinel-2A on 10.09.2023 reveals the aftermath in Farkadona and Trikala, captured a few days after the heaviest rain.

Flooding in central Greece - by Jorge Cunha from Portugal

Flood, Larissa - central Greece, Copernicus Sentinel-2, 2023/09/10.

Beauty and danger in one. Florida - by Magdalena Łągiewska from Poland

Global warming increases the risk of extreme weather events such as hurricanes. Additionally, the image shows endangered Caribbean coral reefs, which may disappear by the end of this century due to human activity and constantly warming ocean temperatures. Sentinel-3, 05.09.2019.

Global Warming's Wrath: Aral Sea Vanishing - by Ekanayaka Mudiyanselage Ruchira Dulanjith from Sri Lanka

Witness the Aral Sea's decline—a once-endorheic lake nestled between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Landsat 8 image mosaic (2023), depicting the dramatic shrinkage of the Aral Sea. The entire area, once covered in water, has now turned into desolate black patches, revealing a severe ecological change.

The power of the flame, Portugal - by Adriana Marcinkowska-Ochtyra from Poland

Wildfire near Odemira, southwest coast of Portugal, 07 August 2023, Sentinel-2 data, 12 8 4 RGB composition.

Deadly Drought in the Horn of Africa - by Maciek Myśliwiec from Poland

Since 2020, ongoing drought from failed rainy seasons has impacted Ethiopia, affecting around 24 million people. The 2023 annual rainfall in the Horn of Africa's equatorial region, were below average. This has severe implications for planting and water sources (Gode, Ethiopia, Sentinel 2, 29.9.23).

Floods of Pakistan - by Jevaughn Henry from Austria

Jacobabad, Pakistan is one of many areas that was severely impacted by the 2022 floods across Pakistan. The main cause of the flooding was exceptionally high monsoon rains, one of the many growing impacts of climate change. Captured by Sentinel 2 on September 15, 2022.

Kutch Coastal Beauty - Navigating Climate Challenges - by Chancy Shah from India

Kutch's breathtaking coastal vistas stand in contrast to growing challenges posed by rising sea levels, coastal erosion, flood inundation, and cyclones. The image, taken by Sentinel-2 in Jan 2023, highlights the urgency of climate resilience and sustainable adaptation in the face of a changing world.

What is the 'Seize the beauty of our Planet' contest about?

In the contest, we are looking for the best satellite images depicting an area of your choice affected by global warming and its consequences.  The images shoud be generated on one the platforms CloudFerro has developed / co-developed and operates:

  • CREODIAS - a European Copernicus DIAS platform commissioned by ESA that combines public cloud computing, access to a satellite image repository, and a range of applications that allow users to search, view, and process satellite products. It is the first commercial element of the Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem.
  • Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem -  launched in January 2023, it is the largest EO data offering in the world and the main EO data dissemination endpoint of the European Space Agency (ESA), with outstanding discovery and download capabilities, and a set of data processing tools. It is built by a consortium of European cloud and Earth observation service providers: T-Systems, CloudFerro, Sinergise, VITO, DLR, ACRI-ST, and RHEA.
  • WEkEO - another European Copernicus DIAS jointly implemented by EUMETSAT, ECMWF, EEA and MERCATOR OCEAN. It provides combined access to environmental data and information from the Copernicus Sentinels and the Copernicus Monitoring Services, together with virtual environment for data processing and skilled user support.
  • CODE-DE - a German national platform for authorities and other public institutions commissioned by DLR that provides easy and efficient access to all Copernicus remote sensing data about Germany, a virtual secure working environment for processing these data and extensive information materials and trainings to support the users.
  • EO-Lab - a German platform commissioned by DLR, providing a development environment for researchers from both scientific and commercial entities, which draws upon new cloud technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse a big amount of Earth Observation data.

The best 13 images chosen in public voting (1st phase) and by a Jury (2nd phase) will be presented in CloudFerro calendar for 2024 that will be distributed among leading institutions, companies and organisations in the Earth Observation sector.  The calendar will also be awarded to all the contest winners and participants whose images were admitted to the voting phase.

Why global warming?

It is the forth time we have been organising the contest ‘Seize the beauty of our Planet’ to raise public awareness about environmental changes that occur on Earth. As in previous years, we aim at encouraging EO community to help us this cause by showing the evidence of devastating environmental changes in the Earth’s ecosystems.

Rhodes island, Greece, wildfires observed on 23 July 2023. Copernicus Sentinel-2 modified data.

Satellite observations play a key role in efficient and cost effective monitoring of the Earth ecosystems, and remote sensing techniques prove highly beneficial in this area. The European Copernicus Earth Observation programme provides data that has many attributes, spectral and spatial ones, about oceans, lands and atmosphere. They provide us with resources for environmental analysis in all dimensions, from local to global and from visible to radar techniques.

Apart from widespread wildfires, also drought has become a common challenge in many regions of the world, and with the acceleration of global climate change, its impact on everyday life is expected to grow. Satellite imagery is a vital tool for understanding drought on a larger scale, offering global coverage and instant access to accurate data. Scientists have developed various indices like NDVI, NDWI, and SMI, which are essential tools for Earth observation. NDVI measures vegetation health by comparing near-infrared (NIR) and red visible light wavelengths. NDWI, or Normalized Water Index, indicates water body extent and reflects biomass water content, commonly used in water management. The Soil Moisture Index (SMI) estimates soil moisture content using Sentinel-1 radar data. Additionally, SWIR or NIR data can help assess land dryness, vegetation coverage, and map extreme events like wildfires or flash floods.

How to enter the contest?

To enter the contest, users needed to generate an image on one of the platforms developed / co-developed and operated by CloudFerro – CREODIASCopernicus Data Space EcosystemWEkEOCODE-DEEO-Lab and submit the image using the form at the bottom of the page. Submission deadline was October 22, 2023.

The requirements:

  • The image should depict an area on Earth affected by visible consequences of global warming. 
  • The image should be obtained on CREODIAS, Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem,  WEkEO, CODE-DE and EO-Lab platform by means of tools available on these platforms (on CREODIAS - choose Data Explorer, on Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem portal - go to Browser tool, on WEkEO choose: Explore data, on CODE-DE and EO-Lab - choose Finder tool) and visualized in a dedicated software of the user's choice (e.g. QGIS). Watch our tutorial on how to prepare an image for the contest.
  • Apart from the esthetical aspects and the relation to climate change, the image must meet a minimum requirement of 250 dpi, 4200 x 3000 pixels or more.
  • The image should be described in terms of: what kind of environmental change it depicts and what area is affected, location, name of the satellite that generated the image, and the date of the satellite observation.
  • Only ONE image can be submitted by each participant.
  • The image can be enhanced with EO or photo editing software but it must NOT contain any text or additional graphic elements such as labels, logos or similar.

Where will the submitted images be used?

The images that meet the requirements of the competition will be used in CloudFerro communication to promote the Copernicus programme and the European values, and they will be published in online and print communication materials. The 13 winning images will also be published in a calendar for 2024 prepared by CloudFerro.

How are winners selected and what are the prizes?

All the submitted images that meet the requirements are put to online voting of the general public from October 23rd to November 3rd 2023. 13 images with the highest number of votes will proceed to the 2nd stage, in which the Jury consisting of the representatives of CloudFerro and its business partners will vote for the best 3 images.

The winners announcement will take place during an online event on November 9th at 14:00 (CET) . Join us to learn who won the contest! See events on Facebook or LinkedIn.

The authors of the 3 images with highest number of Jury votes will be awarded attractive prizes:

  • Apple iPad 10.2 inch (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - 1st place
  • a LED monitor 27" 165 Hz - 2nd place
  • Apple AirPods 2 earphones - 3rd place

The authors of all the entries accepted for the 1st phase of the contest will be awarded a CloudFerro calendar for 2024 composed of the winning images.

See also the winning images of 2021 contest and 2020 contest.

Please contact us at communications [at] cloudferro.com for any questions that you may have. We will be happy to help you.

The details of the contest can be found here: Terms and Conditions (PDF).

The submission of contest entries is now closed. The deadline for submitting contest images was October 22, 2023.