Last update: November 14th, 2019 at 11:00 am
On April 3, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of a cloud-free day in Southeastern Europe.
The most striking feature is the broad arc of the Carpathian Mountains, which stretches through parts of eight countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, and Serbia. Covering about 1500 km (932 miles) in length, the Carpathians are the second-longest mountain range in Europe, falling only about 200 km (124 mi) short of the Scandinavian Mountains.
Many rivers rise from the Carpathian Mountains. About 90 percent of the water runoff from the mountains flows into the Black Sea, which lies to the southeast. The waters of the northern slope, primarily in Poland but also partly in Slovakia, ultimately flow the Baltic Sea. Snow pack on the peaks and slopes of the mountains are important sources of water to the region, and also affect the life of the rivers. Rivers arising from the Carpathians experience high-water periods in the spring and summer. Snowmelt helps drive the spring rise, while rains are the source in the summertime. At times, flooding can be dramatic and damaging.
Fires dot the landscape, with most of the clustered in northern Romania. Wisps of gray smoke can be seen in the atmosphere northwest of the fires. Given the time of year and location, these fires are most likely agricultural in origin and have been deliberately set to manage crops and/or pastureland.