Watch How Much The Earth’s Vegetation Fades Away In A Single Year

Take away all of the water, cities and roads on Earth’s surface, and you’re left with nothing but patches of lush, lovely green. These are exactly the kinds of pictures that the Suomi NPP satellite from NASA and the NOAA produce.

The satellite tracks only the planet’s vegetation, and the video above covers the shift in one full calendar year. It’s amazing how much change takes place in such a short period of time.

The dark green is, obviously, areas that are more dense. Particularly in Brazil, you can see how the darker Amazon rainforest teeming with plant life gradually gives way to lighter, more open agricultural land. And for the most part, the cities we call home appear as empty voids, identifiable solely because of the lush green around it.

This data isn’t just for our own personal knowledge; there’s plenty of practical benefit, too. For example, the video notes that even the slightest change in the pixelation of Africa could be an early warning signal of an approaching draught. Alternatively, when vegetation regrows, global relief organisations know to start preparing for a potential malaria outbreak state. So it’s fascinating, sure, but projects like this could end up saving thousands of lives. [NOAAVisualizationsThanks Matt!]