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Rare snowfall over Greece may be the new normal.

For the second year in a row, Greece experienced unprecedented amounts of snow, blanketing the country in white. ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer took this bird’s eye view of the town of Chalcis, along the Euboean Gulf, from the International Space Station in early February.

He posted to social media, noting, “In keeping with its national colours, wintry Greece presented itself in blue and white.”

Storm Elpida swept across Greece and also parts of Turkey, causing mass disruption to the Mediterranean country known more for white-sand beaches and whitewashed homes than snow.

While hard to deny the beauty of the white and blue landscape of this image, it is a grim reminder of the effects of climate change on the planet. Especially when compared to photos of wildfires in Greece in the summer of 2021, imaged by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet during his Alpha mission.

Like satellites watching Earth from above, astronauts are also observers of a rapidly changing Earth. Photos taken by astronauts complement satellite data but also serve another vital role: climate advocacy to the general public.

Matthias is doing important science on board the International Space Station for his Cosmic Kiss mission and is active on social media to share the benefits and the warnings.

A pretty picture like this says a thousand words on how humans are interacting with and affecting our surroundings. We can be both in awe of the beauty and the reality of the situation. The question is: what will we do about it?

Learn more about ESA’s Space for a Green Future Accelerator and how it will help Europe act to mitigate climate change.