Earth's Green Carbon Machine

Earth's Green Carbon Machine thumbnail


These datasets are companions to a flat-screen data visualization, Earth's Green Carbon Machine, produced by the American Museum of Natural History’s Science Bulletins program.

The seasonal growth of plants is one of the most striking patterns on Earth. This green "pulse" of life is intimately connected with the planet's carbon cycle and the changing climate. In this data visualization, watch plants grow and die with the seasons and the resulting effects on carbon and climate.

This visualization shows weekly snapshots of net primary productivity based on data taken by the MODIS sensor on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites and processed by researchers at the University of Montana and Oregon State University. Net primary productivity is a measure of how much carbon dioxide Earth's vegetation absorbs through photosynthesis minus how much it releases through respiration. The unit of measure is kilograms of carbon per square meter per day. Green values show positive productivity: plants are growing rapidly and absorbing carbon dioxide. Orange values show negative productivity: plants are not growing and are releasing carbon dioxide. The range of values shown is -0.5 kilograms of carbon per square meter per day to 1 kilogram of carbon per square meter per day.

The FTP link will lead you to two movies: One movie with captions that mimics AMNH’s flat-screen visualization, and a second movie without captions, which is better suited for live interpretation.

Earth's Green Carbon Machine was produced in collaboration with the NOAA Climate Program Office. The flat-screen visualization and associated educator resources are available: here.

Length of dataset: 2:47

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