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Archive for Climate Change

Vegetation Index of Southeastern Coastal USA

35.2N 80.8W

December 31st, 2009 Category: Climate Change

USA - December 20th, 2009

USA - December 20th, 2009

This FAPAR image shows the Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation of the east coast of the  southern USA, including the states of (from top to bottom) Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

In FAPAR images, the color spectrum over land runs from red (1.0), to green, to yellow and white (0.0). Here, most of the land visible is light green, indicating good to average photosynthetic activity. The land in Florida appears slightly darker green than that in the other states, indicating a somewhat higher vegetation index.

Vegetation Index of Western Mexico

24.9N 108.2W

December 30th, 2009 Category: Climate Change

Mexico - December 20th, 2009

Mexico - December 20th, 2009

This FAPAR image highlights the great contrast between the high Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation along a narrow coastal strip of western Mexico and the low fraction of the country’s arid interior. In FAPAR images, the color spectrum over land ranges from red (1.0), to green, to yellow and white (0.0).

Here, some agricultural areas on the coastal plains in the bottom right corner appear red, indicating high photosynthetic activity. The rest of the coastal plains and the forested peaks of some mountains further inland are green, indicating good activity. The rest of the land visible here, however, is yellow to white, showing the low photosynthetic activity of the desert regions.

Vegetation Index North and South of Zambezi River, Mozambique

17.8S 35.3E

December 29th, 2009 Category: Climate Change, Rivers

Mozambique - December 17th, 2009

Mozambique - December 17th, 2009

Mozambique is divided into two topographical regions by the Zambezi River, visible running through the center of the full version of this FAPAR image, taken midway through the country’s wet season.

To the north of the Zambezi River, the narrow coastline moves inland to hills and low plateaus, and further west to rugged highlands, which include the Niassa highlands, Namuli or Shire highlands, Angonia highlands, Tete highlands and the Makonde plateau, covered with miombo woodlands.

To the south of the Zambezi River, the lowlands are broader with the Mashonaland plateau and Lebomo mountains located in the deep south. Green and red areas, indicating high photosynthetic activity, are visible both north and south of the river. Yellow areas indicate lower activity.

Vegetation on Both Sides of the Andes: Chile and Argentina by FAPAR

35.7S 70.8W

December 27th, 2009 Category: Climate Change

Chile and Argentina - December 20th, 2009

Chile and Argentina - December 20th, 2009

This FAPAR image shows the Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation of parts of Chile and Argentina. In FAPAR images, the color spectrum over land runs from red (1.0), to green, to yellow and white (0.0).

Much of the land visible in Chile is green to dark red, indicating good to high photosynthetic activity. Upon opening the full image, the green gradually fades to yellow and white, indicating low activity, as one moves towards the country’s arid north.

The land in Argentina appears mostly white to yellow. Some green areas of higher activity can be observed in Argentina along the banks of the Neuquén (above) and Limay (below) Rivers. Upon opening the full image, some green areas can be seen to the north as well.

Vegetation of New Zealand’s North Island

38.8S 175.9E

December 25th, 2009 Category: Climate Change

New Zealand - December 16th, 2009

New Zealand - December 16th, 2009

This FAPAR image shows the Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation of New Zealand‘s North Island. The northernmost tip of the South Island is also visible at the bottom left.

In FAPAR images, the color spectrum over land runs from red (1.0), to green, to yellow and white (0.0), while bodies of water, such as Lake Taupo in the center of the North Island, appear blue. Green to dark red areas indicate the presence of good to high photosynthetic activity, while yellow areas indicate low activity.

The history, climate and geology of New Zealand have created a great deal of diversity in New Zealand’s vegetation types. The main two types of forest have been dominated by podocarps and southern beech. In the north of New Zealand the podocarp forests were dominated by the ancient giant kauri. These trees are amongst the largest in the world, holding the record for the greatest timber volume of any tree; unfortunately, most of these trees were felled.

The remaining vegetation types in New Zealand are grassland of grass and tussock, usually associated with the subalpine areas, and the low shrublands between grasslands and forests.