The Wildflower Superbloom in California from Landsat's Perspective
After 5 years of drought, California finally got relief during the winter of 2016–2017 with much needed precipitation. One result of this additional moisture was a springtime abundance of wildflowers.
There were many places to see this wildflower “superbloom” in southern California. This pair of images from Landsat 8 offers an example of a large area of massive wildflower displays just north of Los Padres National Forest.
These natural color images show the difference in vegetation from March 2016 to March 2017. The latest image is overall much more green, but what really stand out are the brilliant shades of yellow-green scattered throughout the Caliente Range north of the Cuyama River. Countless wildflower species carpeted the hillsides on both sides of the river. The flowers are especially brilliant just south of the river on the slopes of the Sierra Madre Mountains.
The fact that Landsat picked up the flowers with its 30-meter resolution validates the vast extent of this wildflower bloom. But it’s also evidence of Landsat’s value at monitoring the condition of vegetation at a broad scale.