Vegetation satellite images and video were released by NASA and NOAA last week to reveal the greener side of earth. The beautiful green images were created from a year’s worth of satellite data collected by a Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite.
Check out the video for a time-release look at a whole year’s worth of contrast between green and dry regions of our still-thriving planet.
A NASA press statement that came with the new video said that the vegetation data has many practical uses.
After the recent severe droughts in the United States, it’s worth noting that a particularly important purpose will be to provide data to the US Drought Monitor service operated by the National Drought Mitigation Center.
However, the vegetation satellite images can actually provide worldwide information about the greening — or the desertification — of the earth.
NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory pointed out while “75% of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25% of Earth’s surface is a dynamic green.” That’s why the satellite data from April 2012 through April 2013 can create the changing video animation.
For instance, you can see the transformation of the green Amazon forests into agricultural and other human land use — which could change the overall climate of the region.
The data is so precise that pixel by pixel changes could provide advance warnings of oncoming disasters such as droughts in the fragile Horn of Africa, where raising enough food to ward off hunger has been a recurring concern.
It’s even possible to identify regions in Africa that might provide habitat for mosquitoes that carry malaria.
After the sometimes-dispiriting news about global climate change, were you surprised to see that the earth is still this green?
I think there’s some inspiration to be found in the new “green earth” NASA vegetation satellite images.