NASA photos show arctic greening

The ice is melting in the far north and greenery that hasn’t been seen to this degree in 100,000 years is now visible.

With 87,000 images taken from Landsat satellites, converted into data that reflects the amount of healthy vegetation on the ground, NASA researchers found that western Alaska, Quebec and other regions became greener between 1984 and 2012.

The new Landsat study further supports previous work that has shown changing vegetation in Arctic and boreal North America.

Landsat is a programme that provides the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land vegetation in existence.

“It shows the climate impact on vegetation in the high altitudes,” said Jeffrey Masek, scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in the US.

Temperatures are warming faster in the Arctic than elsewhere, which has led to longer seasons for plants to grow in and changes to the soils.

Scientists have observed grassy tundras changing to shrublands, and shrubs growing bigger and denser – changes that could have impacts on regional water, energy and carbon cycles.

With Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 data, researchers found that there was extensive greening in the tundra of western Alaska, the northern coast of Canada, and the tundra of Quebec and Labrador. Overall, the scientists found that 29.4 percent of the region greened up, especially in shrublands and sparsely vegetated areas, while 2.9 per cent showed vegetation decline.


  1. Soundmind

    Lots of comments on Paul’s Posts about audio wires. Not many comments about climate change and the end of civilization as we know it. We know what’s important to the majority of people. Europe may be exploding, the US government as corrupt and incompetent as any nation has ever been, but the latest escapades of the Kardashians is far more widely watched in the US, the others barely noticed.

    I told a French employee who is visiting on assignment in my office that I’d bet hardly one American in a thousand could tell you the name of the Prime Minister of Britain or the President of France. They know what’s really important….stereo wires.

    1. Anonymous

      It takes time to build enough people who are interested in the subject. And as to what’s important to Americans – you’re right, there’s plenty who would rather watch the antics of movie stars than pay attention to what’s happening in the world.

      But don’t diss Americans too much- the general malaise abounds. Not surprising that the single most Googled question in the UK the day after the vote was “what is the EU?”

  2. Charles

    Unfortunately, I agree precisely with your comments.


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