Space & Innovation

Green Earth Beauty: Photos

Although 75% of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25% of Earth's surface is a dynamic green.

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Although 75% of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25% of Earth's surface is a dynamic green. This still image is a snapshot of the Earth created from a year’s worth of data from April 2012 to April 2013 taken from the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite.

Subtle vegetation changes are visible in this year-long visualization. Large-scale patterns vary with seasons, but the local variations in green are also sensitive to precipitation, drought, and fire.

The "river of grass" extending south of Lake Okeechobee shows clear signs of its modified state with areas of dense agriculture, urban sprawl and water conservation areas delineated by a series of waterways that crisscross Southern Florida.

The Mississippi and its many tributaries empty into the Gulf of Mexico - and where these two bodies of water meet lies 40% of the salt marsh in the contiguous United States.

Farmland straddles the Platte River in Nebraska. This region produces around 40% of the annual corn yield for the U.S. and nutrient input from this region drives aquatic and marine ecosystems from the Mississippi watershed to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Rocky, Cascade, and Coast Mountain Ranges dominate the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Potato and other agriculture can be seen in the bottom center of the image as the Rockies give way to the plains of Idaho.

Amidst the deserts of Egypt, the Nile River provides life-sustaining water to the region. Also visible are the urbanized areas of northern Egypt.

Moisture from the Caspian Sea precipitates on the northern edge of the Elburz Mountains, and on the southern edge, deserts emerge in the rain shadow.

The Tigris (north) and Euphrates (south) Rivers create a fertile crescent through central Iraq.

Dense boreal forest in Central Russia near the town of Langepas, on June 18-24, 2012, before a massive fire.

July 23-29, 2012 -- While the surrounding area became more green, irregularly shaped areas of lesser vegetation are the burn scars left by massive wildfires near the Russian town of Langepas.