We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

greening it

New maps show where plant life thrives on Earth

Yes, Ireland does look appropriately green.

THIS NATIONAL OCEANIC and Atmospheric Administration video shows where plants thrive on Earth and how this “greenness” changes with the seasons.

The week-by-week changes in vegetation make allow scientists to assess fire danger, improve relief efforts in drought stricken areas, or anticipate malaria outbreaks (since malaria-carrying mosquitoes need moist green areas to grow).

The data can also aid everything from smarter land use to better weather reports. Water runoff, surface temperature, and the relative humidity of an area are all meteorological factors influenced by levels of plant life.

You can see here how the Nile River is a crucial source of water for plant life — bringing the Delta to life in the middle of a a dry, hot region:

via NOAAVisualizations/Youtube


“As humans, we do have impact on the colour of Earth,” the video’s narrator says. “But the cycle of seasonal growth continues to be a constant rhythm on our green planet.”

Here we can see how elevation changes limit the amount of greenness in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. The Rocky, Cascade, and Coast Mountain Ranges dominate the landscape below, then give way to potato and other agriculture in the plains of Idaho at the bottom centre of this image:


There’s also an interactive version of the map, which you can use to see your favourite places, like, well…. Ireland:


The data that comes from the Suomi NPP satellite, which collects data about Earth to help scientists understand its subtle and dramatic changes. It recently also gave us some beautiful images of how Earth looks from space at night.

- Robert Ferris

Handy online map shows how far you are from a hospital>

Scientists create most detailed map ever of human brain>

Chris Hadfield’s replacements to study plants and fire in space>

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Published with permission from
Business Insider
Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.