Earth  ID: 30709

Yearly Cycle of Earth's Biosphere

Satellite instruments reveal the yearly cycle of plant life on the land and in the water. On land, the images represent the density of plant growth, while in the oceans they show the chlorophyll concentration from tiny, plant-like organisms called phytoplankton. From December to February, during the northern hemisphere winter, plant life in the higher latitudes is minimal and receives little sunlight. However, even in the mid latitudes plants are dormant, shown here with browns and yellows on the land and dark blues in the ocean. By contrast the southern ocean and land masses are at the height of the summer season and plant life is revealed with dark green colors on the land and in the ocean. As the year progresses, the situations reverses, with plant life following the increased sunlight northward, while the southern hemisphere experiences decreased plant actvity during its' winter.

Rather than showing a specific year, the animation shows an average yearly cycle by combining data from many satellite instruments and averaging them over multiple years.


Source Material



Marit Jentoft-Nilsen: Visualizer
Stephanie Uz (GST): Scientist
Matthew R. Radcliff (USRA): Producer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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SVS >> Carbon
SVS >> Chlorophyll
SVS >> Plankton
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Biosphere
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Biosphere >> Vegetation
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Earth
SVS >> Presentation

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version