The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us to Los Cabos, a municipality at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico.
Las Cabos, which means ‘Caps’ in Spanish, is a region of mountains and coastal plains and is mainly dry and rocky, with more than 320 days of sunshine a year. This area includes the two cities of Cabo San Lucas (visible on the lower left) and San José del Capo (visible on the right).
The coastal area between the two cities, known as the Las Cabos Resort Corridor or simply the Corridor, is about 30 km. It is long and has numerous beaches with hotels, resorts and golf courses.
The peninsula ends with the curve of Capo San Lucas, known locally as ‘El Argo’ or ‘Lands End’. This unique landform carved by wind and waves, the Pacific Ocean meets the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez.
The arch of Cabo San Lucas is bordered by Playa de los Enamorados (Playa del Amore) on the Sea of Cortez and Playa del Divorcio (Playa del Divorcio) on the Pacific Ocean side. This arch is a popular gathering place for sea lions, which is frequently visited by tourists.
Parts of the mountains dominate the landscape, such as the Sierra de la Laguna and the Sierra de San Lázaro, both formed by volcanic rocks from 400 to 1000 m.
The main river in the area is the San José River, seen to the right of the image, and flows from north to south during the summer rainy season. The river forms a garden at its southern end, which is one of the largest in Mexico and is home to native and migratory birds.
The image is processed to include the adjacent infrared channel of Copernicus Sentinel-2, showing the plants in bright red. Since the film was purchased on June 20, 2020, the area is particularly prone to vegetation. Los Cabos is dry and hot most of the year, with a short rainy season in late summer and early fall.
The image below captured the region’s rainy season on September 28, 2020 and shows the high density of vegetation in the region.
This type of Sentinel-2 band combination is commonly used to assess plant density and health because plants reflect infrared and green light, while absorbing red. They are green, dense, and appear brighter red in the image because they are closer to infrared than vegetated land.