List of all Biosphere Lesson Plans

Plant Growth

We often take the Biosphere for granted and as the climate changes, plant species and ecosystems respond by adapting, migrating or reducing their population.  Why is this important?  The plants of the Biosphere feed us, clothe us, absorb carbon dioxide, provide us with oxygen,

Monthly Normalized Difference Vegetation Index

The colors on these maps show a measure of the "greenness" of Earth's landscapes. The values on these maps—ranging from -0.1 to 0.9—have no unit.

Monthly Leaf Area Index

One of the key "vital signs" of Earth's vegetation is the total green leaf area for a given ground area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites collects global Leaf Area Index (LAI) data on a daily basis.

Seasonal Chlorophyll Concentration

Tiny plants called phytoplankton grow in the sunlit waters of the ocean's surface. Like all plants, phytoplankton contain chlorophyll, a pigment that transforms sunlight into energy the plant can use. This same pigment gives phytoplankton their greenish color.

Stability and Change: Far Out Flora (2014)

The Earth's system exemplifies stability and change. Change and rates of change can be observed and quantified over very short or long periods of time and at various spatial scales (e.g., from landscape level to global processes).

Cause and Effect:  Secret Life of Forests (1984-2011)

Identifying cause and effect relationships can help us make predictions about the function of natural systems and their impact on the world. These relationships, whether simple or complex, are vital for forecasting weather and predicting Earth events in new contexts.

Systems and System Models: Planet on Fire (2013)

Fire is a powerful force on our planet. From South America's rainforests to Africa's savannas and Australia's highlands, fires touch 30 percent of the land surface. Yet whether naturally occurring or set by humans, fires' effects reach far beyond ravaged lands.

Systems and System Models:  Atmospheric CO2 Model (2014)

An ultra-high-resolution NASA computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the Atmosphere travels around the globe. Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources.