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Earth is still green - for the time being

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 24th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Much of the Earth is covered by desert and many parts of the world - in particular the United States and Africa are undergoing periods of severe drought. However, vegetation satellite images and video, recently released by NASA and NOAA reveals the greener side of earth. Beautiful green images were created from a year's worth of satellite data collected by a Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The included video provides a time-release look at a whole year's worth of contrast between green and dry regions of a still-verdant planet.

A NASA press statement says that the vegetation data has many practical uses. After the recent severe droughts in the U.S., it's worth noting that a particularly important purpose will be to provide data to the U.S. Drought Monitor service.

The vegetation satellite images provide worldwide information about the greening - or the desertification - of the earth.

NOAA's Environmental Visualization Laboratory pointed out while "75 percent of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25 percent of Earth's surface is a dynamic green." The satellite data from April 2012 through April 2013 can create the changing video animation.

Viewers can see the transformation of the green Amazon forests into agricultural and other human land use, which could change the overall climate of the region.

So precise is the data, that pixel by pixel changes could provide advance warnings of oncoming disasters such as droughts in the Horn of Africa, where raising enough food to ward off hunger has been a recurring concern.

It's even possible to identify regions in Africa that might provide habitat for mosquitoes that carry malaria.

In spite of this, many people were delighted with gloomy talk about deforestation, drought and growing deserts that the Earth remains a verdant green from space.

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