NASA Captures 20 Years of Changing Seasons in Beautiful New Video

Here's a view you don't normally get of Planet Earth. 

NASA satellites have continuously studying and observing the earth's surface for the last twenty years. The project has been mapping and watching the physical properties of our planet change through the seasons.

In a timelapse video posted by NASA, ecosystems in the northern hemisphere can be seen taking in carbon dioxide, and exhaling the oxygen as foliage and plants on the surface begin sprouting leaves. 

Meanwhile, microscopic plants drift through the world's oceans, spreading and blooming into millions of carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen. Light detecting instruments on the satellites watch the growth, translating it into beautiful swirls of color. 

Satellites have been measuring land and ocean life since the 1970s, but it was only in 1997, when the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) was launched, that the space-agency was able to monitor a global view of land and ocean life. 

The new animation from NASA captures the satellite's observations over the last twenty years compressing it all down into a short five minute video. 

“These are incredibly evocative visualizations of our living planet,” said Gene Carl Feldman, an oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “That’s the Earth, that is it breathing every single day, changing with the seasons, responding to the Sun, to the changing winds, ocean currents and temperatures."

The space-based view of life on our planet allows scientists to more closely monitor crop, forests and fish hatchery health around the globe. The data has also allowed them to discover long-term changes across continents and ocean basins. 

“As the satellite archive expands, you see more and more dynamics emerging,” Jeffrey Masek, chief of the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA Goddard said. “We’re now able to look at long-term trends.”

With more than twenty years worth of data under their belt, scientists are learning more about our planet and how habitats and ecosystems are responding to changing environmental conditions. So, whether it's crops, forests, or salmon hatcheries, NASA is sure to have their eye on it. 

“This is the capability that will allow us to understand how Earth’s biology responds to a changing planet,” NASA Goddard scientist Compton Tucker said.



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