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New Ground for an Ancient City
Relentless Floods
Drifting With Broken Sea Ice
Could Satellites Help Head Off a Locust Invasion?
Image of the Day Apr 2, 2020

New Ground for an Ancient City

The fast-growing city of Cairo has spilled onto desert plains well beyond the lush floodplain of the Nile River.

Instrument Rescue Operation
Notes from the Field

Instrument Rescue Operation

After cracks formed in the sea ice, the MOSAiC expedition team decided to move instruments to safer location.

Published Apr 2, 2020 in Notes From the Field

New Ground for an Ancient City
Image

New Ground for an Ancient City

The fast-growing city of Cairo has spilled onto desert plains well beyond the lush floodplain of the Nile River.

Published Apr 1, 2020

Image of the Day Land

Relentless Floods
Image

Relentless Floods

High water on the James River in South Dakota has persisted for more than a year.

Published Mar 31, 2020

Image of the Day Land Water Floods Severe Storms Human Presence Remote Sensing

March Puzzler
Earth Matters

March Puzzler

Every month we offer a puzzling satellite image. Your challenge is to tell us what we are looking at, where it is, and why it is interesting.

Published Mar 31, 2020 in Earth Matters

Drifting With Broken Sea Ice
Image

Drifting With Broken Sea Ice

Cracks in the Arctic sea ice are important for satellite-based measurements of the ice’s thickness. They also pose challenges for ship-based researchers participating in the MOSAiC expedition.

Published Mar 30, 2020

Image of the Day Water Human Presence Snow and Ice

Could Satellites Help Head Off a Locust Invasion?
Image

Could Satellites Help Head Off a Locust Invasion?

Researchers are using satellite data to understand where locusts may spread during the largest infestation in eastern Africa in decades.

Published Mar 27, 2020

Image of the Day Land Remote Sensing

The Disappearance of Ecuador’s Tallest Waterfall
Image

The Disappearance of Ecuador’s Tallest Waterfall

A newly formed sinkhole on the Coca River has diverted water originally headed towards the San Rafael Waterfall.

Published Mar 27, 2020

Image of the Day Land Water

Sunlit Peaks in the Himalayas
Image

Sunlit Peaks in the Himalayas

Earth’s third-highest summit, Kangchenjunga, rises more than 8500 meters above sea level along the border of Nepal and India.

Published Mar 27, 2020

Image of the Day Land

Nighttime Images Capture Change in China
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Nighttime Images Capture Change in China

Night lights not only speak to where we live, but how.

Published Mar 26, 2020

Image of the Day Land Life Human Presence Remote Sensing

A Dusty Day Over the Aral Sea
Image

A Dusty Day Over the Aral Sea

The shrinking of this once-vast inland lake means winds more frequently pick up dust from the exposed lakebed.

Published Mar 25, 2020

Image of the Day Land Water Dust and Haze

Sea Ice Below Normal Despite a Seasonal Bump
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Sea Ice Below Normal Despite a Seasonal Bump

Slight recoveries in the extent of sea ice at both poles were not enough to return to long-term normal levels.

Published Mar 24, 2020

Image of the Day Water Snow and Ice Remote Sensing Sea and Lake Ice

Carbon Monoxide
Global Maps Mar 2000 — Feb 2017

Carbon Monoxide

When fuels such as coal, wood, and oil burn incompletely, they produce carbon monoxide. The gas is spread by winds and circulation. These maps show monthly averages of CO in the lower atmosphere.

Atmosphere

Earth at Night
Article

Earth at Night

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.

Published Apr 12, 2017

Atmosphere Land Human Presence Remote Sensing

Snow-Parched Scandinavia
Image

Snow-Parched Scandinavia

Winter is loosening its grip on the Northern Hemisphere, but the seasonal change in Northern Europe is less dramatic than most years.

Published Mar 23, 2020

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Snow and Ice

Chlorophyll
Global Maps Jul 2002 — Feb 2020

Chlorophyll

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.

Life Water

Tournament Earth - Best of EO
Article

Tournament Earth - Best of EO

To celebrate EO's 20th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we want you to pick our all-time best image. Each week from March 23 to April 28, you can vote for your favorites, narrowing the field from 32 nominees down to one champion.

Published Mar 23, 2020

Human Presence Remote Sensing

Healing Scars at Kaho’olawe
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Healing Scars at Kaho’olawe

The Hawaiian island has been scarred by volcanic eruptions, livestock grazing, penal colonies, bombs, and fire. Yet there is hope for healing.

Published Mar 20, 2020

Image of the Day Land Life

Getting an EPIC Perspective
Earth Matters

Getting an EPIC Perspective

Good news has been scarce. But here's at least one update ― from one million miles away ― to appreciate.

Published Mar 20, 2020 in Earth Matters

Leads Everywhere
Notes from the Field

Leads Everywhere

Cracks in the sea ice are a not-so-gentle reminder that the ice can be extremely dynamic, and researchers should be prepared for anything.

Published Mar 20, 2020 in Notes From the Field

Blue Marble Next Generation
Article

Blue Marble Next Generation

12 months of high-resolution global true color satellite imagery.

Published Oct 13, 2005

Atmosphere Land Water Snow and Ice

Mission: Biomes
Article

Mission: Biomes

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.

Published Oct 5, 2000

Land Life

Aerosol Optical Depth
Global Maps Mar 2000 — Feb 2020

Aerosol Optical Depth

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.

Atmosphere

Swollen Rivers in Channel Country
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Swollen Rivers in Channel Country

Heavy rain in March drenches parched land in southwestern Queensland.

Published Mar 20, 2020

Image of the Day Land Water Unique Imagery Remote Sensing

Waving at the Kerguelen Islands
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Waving at the Kerguelen Islands

They are geographically isolated but scientifically and visually compelling.

Published Mar 20, 2020

Image of the Day Land

Drift Ice in the Sea of Okhotsk
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Drift Ice in the Sea of Okhotsk

Carried by winds and currents, sea ice can reach the coast of Hokkaido, Japan.

Published Mar 19, 2020

Image of the Day Water Snow and Ice Sea and Lake Ice

Parasitic Cones in Hokkaido
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Parasitic Cones in Hokkaido

These nested volcanic features grew as small, secondary vents along the flanks of larger volcanoes.

Published Mar 18, 2020

Image of the Day Land Water

A Clearer View of Hazy Skies
Article

A Clearer View of Hazy Skies

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.

Published Jun 24, 2014

Atmosphere Human Presence Remote Sensing

Fire
Global Maps Mar 2000 — Feb 2020

Fire

Whether started by humans (farming, logging, or accidents) or by nature (lightning), fires are always burning somewhere on Earth. These maps show the locations of fires burning around the world each month.

Land

An Ash-Damaged Island in the Philippines
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An Ash-Damaged Island in the Philippines

When it erupted in January 2020, Taal Volcano blanketed the surrounding area with volcanic debris that has taken a toll on farmers.

Published Mar 17, 2020

Image of the Day Land Water Volcanoes Human Presence

Slowly Flooding History
Image

Slowly Flooding History

The 12,000-year old town of Hasankeyf could soon be underwater due to the construction of a new dam.

Published Mar 16, 2020

Image of the Day Water Human Presence

The MOSAiC Floe
Notes from the Field

The MOSAiC Floe

Central to the entire MOSAiC Expedition is the MOSAiC Floe: a large sheet of sea ice that was carefully selected as the ideal place to anchor Polarstern for an entire year.

Published Mar 16, 2020 in Notes From the Field

Making and Melting Ice at Earth's Poles
EO Kids

Making and Melting Ice at Earth's Poles

Find out about sea ice and its effects on ecosystems and global climate by looking at how and when it forms on Earth. Plus, learn how different types of water freeze in our “DIY Science” activity: “Saltwater is Cool (Literally).”

Published Mar 13, 2020 in EO Kids

Heat Atmosphere Snow and Ice Water

Net Primary Productivity
Global Maps Feb 2000 — Nov 2016

Net Primary Productivity

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.

Land Life

Farewell to Leg 2—Now Our Work Begins
Notes from the Field

Farewell to Leg 2—Now Our Work Begins

The MOSAiC Leg 3 team is officially on board the Polarstern, and science activities have quickly begun.

Published Mar 13, 2020 in Notes From the Field

Ice Eddies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
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Ice Eddies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Winds and currents stirred up the thin sea ice, forming delicate patterns around Anticosti Island in Quebec, Canada.

Published Mar 13, 2020

Image of the Day Water Unique Imagery Snow and Ice Remote Sensing

Snow Cover
Global Maps Mar 2000 — Jan 2020

Snow Cover

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.

Snow and Ice

Fresh Water in Channel Country
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Fresh Water in Channel Country

Big rain events in Queensland can alter the landscape for months as water—and then a carpet of vegetation—moves toward Lake Eyre.

Published Mar 13, 2020

Atmosphere Land Water Unique Imagery

Jebel Marra, Sudan
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Jebel Marra, Sudan

The almost circular massif in the Darfur region is a large cluster of volcanoes and lava flows, with a few traces of human activity.

Published Mar 13, 2020

Image of the Day Land

Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Decreases Over Italy
Earth Matters

Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Decreases Over Italy

New data from the European Space Agency now show drops in nitrogen dioxide concentrations over Italy due to that country's nationwide lockdown.

Published Mar 13, 2020 in Earth Matters

A Space Communications Hub in Australia
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A Space Communications Hub in Australia

The Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex plays a key role in keeping engineers and scientists connected to distant spacecraft.

Published Mar 13, 2020

Image of the Day Human Presence Remote Sensing

Thin Snow Cover in the Sierra Nevada
Image

Thin Snow Cover in the Sierra Nevada

The winter of 2019-2020 was much drier than usual in California, as evidenced by the dearth of snow in the mountains.

Published Mar 12, 2020

Image of the Day Snow and Ice Remote Sensing

Satellite Observations Aid Bison Management
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Satellite Observations Aid Bison Management

A new study has found a link between the effects of climate change, the productivity of grasslands, and the proliferation of bison in Yellowstone National Park.

Published Mar 11, 2020

Image of the Day Heat Land Life Remote Sensing

Fire in the Pantanal
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Fire in the Pantanal

Even during the wet season, fires can burn in the large wetland region in southwestern Brazil.

Published Mar 10, 2020

Image of the Day Land Fires

Hints of Spring in the Atlantic
Image

Hints of Spring in the Atlantic

The season is a time of great change, turbulence, and productivity in northern waters.

Published Mar 9, 2020

Image of the Day Land Water Remote Sensing

More Dust Blows Out from North Africa
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More Dust Blows Out from North Africa

The latest in a series of dust storms carried even more dust and sand off the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.

Published Mar 9, 2020

Atmosphere Land Water Dust and Haze

Shelter Cove
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Shelter Cove

The remote hamlet sits along California’s rugged “Lost Coast.”

Published Mar 5, 2020

Image of the Day Land Water

The (Historic) Journey To Polarstern
Notes from the Field

The (Historic) Journey To Polarstern

Standing just a few meters from the sea ice, one can see just how dynamic, variable, and beautiful the ice cover can be.

Published Mar 5, 2020 in Notes From the Field

A Textbook Weather Front
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A Textbook Weather Front

A cold front, warm front, and high-pressure system left their signatures in the clouds.

Published Mar 5, 2020

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Remote Sensing

How the Coronavirus Is (and Is Not) Affecting the Environment
Earth Matters

How the Coronavirus Is (and Is Not) Affecting the Environment

As people have changed their everyday behaviors to contain or avoid the coronavirus, there have been subtle effects on the environment.

Published Mar 5, 2020 in Earth Matters

Ever Restless Popocatépetl
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Ever Restless Popocatépetl

The volcano has been erupting since January 2005, with near constant venting from fumaroles, punctuated by minor steam, gas, and ash emissions.

Published Mar 5, 2020

Atmosphere Land Volcanoes Remote Sensing

Help Earth Observatory Choose Our All-Time Best Image
Earth Matters

Help Earth Observatory Choose Our All-Time Best Image

Since its launch on the web in April 1999, NASA Earth Observatory has published more than 15,500 image-driven stories about our planet. In celebration of our 20th anniversary -- as well as the 50th anniversary of Earth Day -- we want you to help us choose our all-time best image.

Published Mar 3, 2020 in Earth Matters

Retreat at Pine Island Glacier
Article

Retreat at Pine Island Glacier

Pine Island Glacier is one of the fastest-retreating glaciers in Antarctica. Watch the glacier’s ice front as it retreats and sheds some notable icebergs over the past two decades.

Published Feb 13, 2020

Snow and Ice Remote Sensing Videos

World of Change: Global Temperatures
Article

World of Change: Global Temperatures

The average global temperature has increased by a little more than 1° Celsius (2° Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975.

Published Jan 29, 2020

Atmosphere Heat Land Water Human Presence World of Change

Spotting the Spotted Owl
Article

Spotting the Spotted Owl

Scientists create maps of forest cover to understand where the composition and structure of Pacific Northwest forests are sufficient for the threatened species to nest and roost.

Published Jan 3, 2020

Life Human Presence World of Change

Best of 2019
Article

Best of 2019

2019 brought many memorable events on Planet Earth. Here are a few highlights from around the globe.

Published Dec 20, 2019

Atmosphere Land Water Videos