Nasa’s new data visualization proves that pictures are truly worth a thousand words. Over the last 20 years, their satellites have continuously monitored plant life along the surfaces of Earth’s land and ocean. Pictured in a mesmerizing time-lapse with images that capture the ebb and flow of seasonal weather patterns. One Nasa oceanographer likened it to “watching the Earth breathe”. However, this visualization also illustrates some of the changes that have occurred over time, including receding sea ice and the expansion of uninhabitable biological deserts. According to Nasa, such data allows them to track how “habitats and ecosystems are responding to changing environmental conditions” and that having this continuous global record helps them predict future trends. For example, satellite images reveal where crops suffer and thrive. Such data helps scientists inform farmers on how to respond to these trends.
The core message behind this Nasa project is that Earth is a unique planet in that it supports countless forms of life, however, it is also incredibly fragile. We share one planet and one climate, and as such, we need to work together to ensure that life as we know it continues.
Check out this video to learn more about the visualization.