Earth  ID: 31139

Earth: A System of Systems (updated)

In order to study the Earth as a whole system and understand how it is changing, NASA develops and supports a large number of Earth-observing missions. These missions provide Earth science researchers the necessary data to address key questions about global climate change.

This visualization reveals that the Earth system, like the human body, comprises diverse components that interact in complex ways. Shown first, the Multi-Scale Ultra-High Resolution (MUR) sea surface temperature (SST) dataset combines data from the Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Terra and Aqua, and Advanced Microwave Spectroradiometer-EOS (AMSR-E) instruments. Constantly released into the Earth’s atmosphere, heat and moisture from the ocean and land influence Earth’s weather patterns—represented here as wind speeds from the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) dataset. Moisture in the atmosphere—represented as water vapor (also from MERRA)—forms clouds (shown here using cloud layer data from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center) and precipitation. Precipitation (data from GPM IMERG) significantly impacts water availability, which influences soil moisture (data from NASA-USDA-FA) and ocean salinity.

While scientists learn a great deal from studying each of these components individually, improved observational and computational capabilities increasingly allow them to study the interactions between these interrelated geophysical and biological parameters, leading to unprecedented insight into how the Earth system works—and how it might change in the future.

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Source Material


Amy Moran (GST): Lead Animator
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Lead Data Visualizer
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Alex Kekesi (GST): Data Visualizer
Trent L. Schindler (USRA): Data Visualizer
Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC): Data Visualizer
Dalia B Kirschbaum (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
George Huffman (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Gail Skofronick Jackson (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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Data Used:
GEMS/Soil Moisture
GEMS stands for Goddard Earth Modeling System. It is also known as the NSIPP Global Climate Model.
CPC (Climate Prediction Center) Cloud Composite
Data Compilation - Climate Prediction Center (CPC) - 2014-2015
Global cloud cover from multiple satellites
also referred to as: Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS)
Model - UMD
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

DLESE >> Atmospheric science
SVS >> Clouds
DLESE >> Physical oceanography
DLESE >> Soil science
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Precipitation
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Water Vapor >> Water Vapor
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Land Surface >> Soils >> Soil Moisture/Water Content
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Temperature >> Sea Surface Temperature
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Wind Patterns
NASA Science >> Earth
NASA Earth Science Focus Areas >> Atmospheric Composition
NASA Earth Science Focus Areas >> Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics

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