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.
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Students observe seasonal images of Monthly Normalized Difference Vegetation, looking for any changes in vegetation that are occurring throughout the year.
Explore using units in calculations with the Leaf Area Index (LAI). LAI is a ratio that describes the number of square meters of leaves per square meter of available land surface. Because of the units in the ratio, it is dimensionless
Explore using units for calculations with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). NDVI is a ratio of different light wavelength reflectance which can be used to map the density of green vegetation.
Scientific data are often represented by assigning ranges of numbers to specific colors. The colors are then used to make false color images which allow us to see patterns more easily. Students will make a false-color image using a set of numbers.
The fires in Greece during the summer of 2007 devastated large tracks of forest and ground cover in this Mediterranean region. Students analyze these data to determine the scale, area, and percentage of the forest impacted by of these fires.
Information from satellites if often used to display information about objects. This information can include how things appear, as well as their contents. Explore how pixel data sequences can be used to create an image and interpret it.
Students can interact with NASA data to build a custom visualizations of of local, regional, or global plant growth patterns over time. Use the Earth System Data Explorer to generate plots of satellite data as you develop models of this phenomenon.
See the following datasets in the Earth System Data Explorer:
Students observe monthly images of changing vegetation patterns, looking for seasonal changes occurring throughout 2017.
Whether naturally occurring or set by humans, fires' effects reach far beyond ravaged lands. Combining satellite observations of fires with a computer model reveals the fires also affect air quality, health, and climate.