Friday, May 26, 2006

Earth's Metabolism

In honor of the Earth Day celebration, NASA scientists unveiled the first consistent and continuous global measurements of Earth’s “metabolism.” Data from the Terra and Aqua satellites are helping scientists frequently update maps of the rate at which plant life on Earth is absorbing carbon out of the atmosphere.
Cool map of our world’s "net primary production" courtesy of NASA. The warmer the color the more productive the land.

I love this video (small MPEG, large MPEG) that shows how the productivity of land changes throughout the year. Almost hypnotic.

I was also surprised to read that
“When you average the productivity rates over the whole world, the ocean is roughly equal to the land.”
Didn't realize that they were equal.

I was also surprised to see how far north biological activity takes place. Canada, Scandinavia and Russia are bright red in the summertime. Would have thought that the farther away from the equator you got, the less productive the land due to less sunlight. Guess not. It also makes you realize how much more land there is in the northern hemisphere than the southern.

You can also see how the Galapagos islands (off of the western shore of South America) have a ton of biological activity.

The tropical rain forests of the Amazon, Congo and Indonesia are the most productive areas of the world. Amazing how desolate and large the Sahara desert is, or how much of Australia is a desert.

I love these maps and videos that let you understand the world in a way you never have before.

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