A cool new time-lapse video of Earth reveals how our planet has changed over the last two decades as NASA satellites continuously monitored the populations of plant life on land and in the oceans.
The video shows Earth “breathing” repetitiously as the seasons change throughout each year, with snow coverage on the North and South Poles periodically growing and shrinking while green regions of vegetation do the same.
Meanwhile, clouds of microscopic phytoplankton, a type of algae, bloom on the ocean’s surface, where the tiny organisms turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar as they bask in sunlight. [Earth’s Plant Life from Space in Photos: NASA Satellite Images]
“These are incredibly evocative visualizations of our living planet,” Gene Carl Feldman, an oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement. “That’s the Earth, that is it breathing every single day, changing with the seasons, responding to the sun, to the changing winds, ocean currents and temperatures.”