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.
These maps show the ‘metabolism” of Earth’s plants and trees. Net primary productivity is the difference between the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed during photosynthesis minus the amount released by respiration.
These maps show the average amount of water vapor in a column of atmosphere by month. Water vapor is the key precursor for rain and snow and one of the most important greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Chlorophyll is used by algae and other phytoplankton--the grass of the sea--to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into sugars. These maps show chlorophyll concentrations in the ocean, revealing where phytoplankton are thriving.
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.
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.
These maps depict how much hotter or cooler an ocean basin was compared to the long-term average. Temperature anomalies can indicate changes in ocean circulation or the arrival of patterns like El Niño and La Niña.
Net radiation is the balance between incoming and outgoing energy at the top of the atmosphere. It is the total energy available to influence climate after light and heat are reflected, absorbed, or emitted by clouds and land.
There is no award for completing the hike from Mexico to Canada through the western United States. But it is clear from the ground and space that the journey through 48 wilderness areas and demanding terrain will change you.
In honor of our 20th anniversary, we offer a selection of some of the most beautiful, newsworthy, interesting, and scientifically important images from the past 20 years — one for each day of the calendar year.