Watch 20 years go by in less than 3 minutes This visualization was created with data from satellites including SeaWiFS, and instruments including the NASA/NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. (NASA)
Watch 20 years go by in less than 3 minutes
Lexile

NASA captured 20 years of changing seasons in a striking new global map of the home planet.

The data visualization was released last week. It shows Earth's fluctuations as seen from space.

The polar ice caps and snow cover are shown ebbing and flowing with the seasons. The ocean appears as shades of blue and green. They also appear as shades of red and purple. The shades indicate the abundance - or lack - of undersea life.

"It's like watching the Earth breathe. It's really remarkable." That's according to Jeremy Werdell. He's a NASA oceanographer. He took part in the project.

Two decades are crunched into 2 1/2 minutes of viewing. The time frame is September 1997 to this past September.

Werdell finds the imagery mesmerizing.

"It's like all of my senses are being transported into space. Then you can compress time and rewind it, and just continually watch this kind of visualization," he said Friday.

Werdell said the visualization shows spring coming earlier and autumn lasting longer. This is in the Northern Hemisphere. Also noticeable to him is the Arctic ice caps receding over time. Less obvious, though is the Antarctic.

On the sea side, Werdell was struck by "this hugely productive bloom of biology." It exploded in the Pacific along the equator. This happened from 1997 to 1998. That's when a water-warming El Nino merged into cooling La Nina. This algae bloom is evident by a line of bright green.

In much smaller Lake Erie, more and more contaminating algae blooms are apparent. They appear red and yellow.

All this data can provide resources for policymakers as well as commercial fishermen and many others. This is according to Werdell.

Alex Kekesi is a programmer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. It is in Maryland. He said it took three months to complete the visualization, using satellite imagery.

Just like our Earth, the visualization will continually change. Officials said this will happen as computer systems improve. It will happen as new remote-sensing satellites are launched and more observations are made.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why was NASA in a good position to capture this data?
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COMMENTS (53)
  • KiaraB-del
    12/04/2017 - 06:26 p.m.

    This article was very interesting it talked about Earth. It talked about how NASA helped take picture of it. This article was very interesting.

  • Louis-ThomasD-tur
    12/05/2017 - 11:52 a.m.

    I think the earth land came black green by the years and the oceans.

  • kinniel-orv
    12/06/2017 - 11:27 a.m.

    This was a cool article and video. Its amazing how the world changed compared to 20 years.

  • ethanm-orv
    12/07/2017 - 02:52 p.m.

    I wonder what it looked ten years ago

  • ionicaj-cel
    12/08/2017 - 10:46 a.m.

    It's weird and at the same time fascinating to see time go by so quickly. It makes you think about how small your impact really is on the world. Too deep? yeah I know lol

  • jeremyj-orv
    12/12/2017 - 08:18 a.m.

    It’s insane to see the change our earth will undergo in 20 years, that’s verry awesome.

  • lpreu-wim
    12/19/2017 - 12:45 p.m.

    i thought this article was cool to see how the earth acts like that. I like to see how the earth moved though all those years.

  • wwall-wim
    12/19/2017 - 12:53 p.m.

    this article is fascinating, it intrigues me, the topic is so interesting its just a great article

  • ambers-cel
    12/20/2017 - 12:30 p.m.

    They were in a good position because of how advanced our computer technology is. You can clearly see how the environment has changed in the last 20 years.

  • ChloeB-mac1
    1/03/2018 - 08:57 a.m.

    NASA captured 20 years of changing seasons in a striking new global map of the home planet.

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