Earth's green vegetation has increased 10% since 2000, NASA data show

by Laura Mize · Mar 2nd, 2021 11:33 am
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Last Updated Mar 2nd, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Earth is getting greener, shows an analysis of NASA data collected since 2000.

The conclusion comes from the agency's Vegetation Index data, which shows that since the start of the 21st century, the amount of so-called "global greening" has increased 10%.

"By carefully measuring the wavelengths and intensity of visible and near-infrared light reflected by the land surface back up into space, scientists use an algorithm called a 'Vegetation Index' to quantify the concentrations of green leaf vegetation around the globe," a NASA web page explains.

Science blogger and businesswoman Zoe Phin analyzed NASA's cache of Vegetation Index data to identify the trend.

More green vegetation means more forest area and increased crop production, says science blogger Pierre L. Gosselin.

In a post about the planet's increase in green vegetation, Gosselin also referred to 2020 research published in the journal Global Change Biology, which shows that most of Earth's greening is caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Gosselin says such emissions are not actually problematic.

"This greening will offset 17 years (equivalent) of the Earth's anthropogenic CO2 emissions by 2100," Gosselin writes.

The Sahara has shrunk by about 8%, Gosselin notes, according to a 2018 paper published in Nature Communications.


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