NASA scientists have compiled a captivating video that maps how the Earth's surface has changed over a span of 20 years, using data from various satellites.
In the Northern Hemisphere, ecosystems wake up in the spring and sprout new leaves, while a fleet of Earth-observing satellites track the spread of the newly green vegetation.
Meanwhile, in the oceans, microscopic plants drift through the sunlit surface waters and bloom into billions of carbon dioxide-absorbing organisms, and light-detecting instruments on satellites map the swirls of their colour.
Satellites measured land and ocean life from space as early as the 1970s. However, it was not until the launch of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) in 1997 that the space agency began what is now a continuous, global view of both land and ocean life.
A new animation captures the entirety of this 20-year record, made possible by multiple satellites, compressing a decades-long view of life on Earth into a captivating few minutes. "These are incredibly evocative visualisations of our living planet," said Gene Carl Feldman, from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in the US.