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Eyes in the Sky Track Earth's Changes [Slideshow]

Earth-monitoring satellites are being used to track everything from deforestation to the spread of plankton in the Arctic Ocean

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INVADING PLANTS

New types of trees and other vegetation (colored red and pink) are slowly but surely displacing the native species (denoted in green).....[ More ]

CHEMICAL FINGERPRINT

By measuring nutrient and water levels in leaves, researchers can spot invasive plants from the air in places like Hawaii, pictured here.....[ More ]

SPREADING SHALLOWS

The least productive areas of ocean for plankton will likely spread as the globe warms, according to satellite data and computer models.....[ More ]

MIXING LAYER

Plankton in the open ocean need a precise mixture of sunlight in shallower waters and nutrients from the deep. Temperature determines just how easily the two mix—and global warming could throw the whole system out of balance.....[ More ]

TREES LIKE IT DRY

Satellite rainfall data reveals that the areas of the Amazon that received the least rain in 2005 also experienced the greatest growth, proving that the deep roots of the old-growth rainforest can sustain the trees through climate fluctuations.....[ More ]

DRY RAINFOREST

The intact Amazon rainforest likes it dry, satellite data shows, but areas of the rainforest that have been cleared or disturbed quickly dry out and turn brown.....[ More ]

PLANKTON BLOOM

Plankton benefited from diminishing sea ice but, more importantly, from a longer ice-free growing season at the edges of the Arctic.....[ More ]

SEA ICE

Satellite data captures a record minimum of Arctic Ocean sea ice on Sept. 16, 2007, and the detail on the right (in red) shows just how much ice was lost between 2006 and 2007—an area as big as California and Montana combined.....[ More ]

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