Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


How green is my planet?


Scientists at the University of Southampton have devised a new method of examining how much of the earth’s surface is covered by vegetation and assessing the state of health of the foliage. The European Space Agency (ESA) has recognised the value of this information which is likely to be a vital tool for researchers examining models of terrestrial productivity, gas exchange and climate change.

Dr Jadunandan Dash and Visiting Professor Paul Curran from the School of Geography use data from an instrument called Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) on board the world’s largest environmental satellite, Envisat.

It measures reflected radiation in visible red and near-infra red wavelengths. This information, in turn, is used in a tool called the MERIS Terrestrial Chlorophyll Index (MTCI), which has been an ESA operational product since 2004.

MTCI combines information on the extent of the planet’s green areas along with an assessment of the amount of chlorophyll in the leaves to produce detailed images of chlorophyll content per hectare or other unit area.

Chlorophyll is the molecule in plants which turns leaves green and absorbs sunlight, using its energy to synthesize carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. Oxygen is also produced in this process. The amount of chlorophyll in plants plays an important role in determining how healthy they are. The MTCI global composites can be used to estimate relative and land cover and specific chlorophyll content in space and time.

Images taken in March and August clearly show differences in chlorophyll content between the northern and southern hemispheres. In both maps, the tropical rainforests had relatively high MTCI levels, but even in the centre of these forests there is a change in values between March and August.

Professor Curran commented: ’This product enables us to hold a mirror up to our planet and observe, on a regular basis, just how healthy it really is.’

These global composite images are being produced weekly and monthly by the UK Multi-Mission Product Archive Facility (UK-MMPAF) and are the only available terrestrial chlorophyll products from space.

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

The gene of autumn colours

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Polymer scaffolds build a better pill to swallow

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>