Earth  ID: 11933

Green Planet

How green is our planet? The answer to that question actually changes with the seasons and depends on where you’re looking. From space, scientists monitor Earth’s plant life using instruments aboard satellites that measure the health and lushness of vegetation on land. The measurements allow researchers to create maps that show where in the world plants have gone dormant and where they’re in bloom, or whether there’s any vegetation at all. The maps can also indicate how a landscape has evolved over time due to changes in climate and human activity. Since 1999, the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite has measured vegetation changes on Earth from orbit. Watch the video to see more than a decade's worth of observations collected by the spacecraft.

Story Credits

Lead Writer:
Kayvon Sharghi (USRA)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Video and images courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory

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