NASA has a unique vantage point for observing the beauty and wonder of Earth and for making sense of it. The images in this book tell a story of a 4.5-billion-year-old planet where there is always something new to see.
Satellite images of Earth at night have been a curiosity for the public and a tool of fundamental research for at least 25 years. They have provided a broad, beautiful picture, showing how humans have shaped the planet and lit up the darkness.
In addition to making rain and snow, clouds can have a warming or cooling influence depending on their altitude, type, and when they form. These maps show what fraction of an area was cloudy each month.
Industrialization has brought incredible societal advances and difficult pollution problems. From space, we can see skies clearing in some regions and darkening in others. The thin blue line of our atmosphere is still quite vulnerable.
Airborne aerosols can cause or prevent cloud formation and harm human health. These maps depict aerosol concentrations in the air based on how the tiny particles reflect or absorb visible and infrared light.
Snow and ice influence climate by reflecting sunlight back into space. When it melts, snow is a source of water for drinking and vegetation; too much snowmelt can lead to floods. These maps show average snow cover by month.
These maps depict anomalies in land surface temperatures (LSTs); that is, how much hotter or cooler a region was compared to the long-term average. LST anomalies can indicate heat waves or cold spells.
As several comprehensive NASA-funded research projects get started, here is a quick roundup of some of the more interesting satellite-related findings about the science of coronavirus and its effects on the environment.
NASA satellites and sensors constantly take the pulse of our planet. Researchers apply those observations on local and regional scales to better manage things like food and water supplies, health, safety, land use, and ecosystems.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a different part of the world? What would the weather be like? What kinds of animals would you see? Which plants live there? By investigating these questions, you are learning about biomes.