27 Sep '17, 2pm

The Global Spread of Bare Ground

Satellites have captured several eye-opening views of human activity changing the surface of Earth. They have been used to map the world’s changing forests , the spread of impervious surfaces , and the nighttime lights of human civilization . Now University of Maryland scientists, led by Qing Ying and Matthew Hansen , have developed a new metric to measure the human fingerprints on Earth’s surface: bare ground gain (alternatively known as vegetative cover loss). Their results show a remarkable spread in bare ground between 2000 and 2012—a global gain of 94,000 square kilometers, an area larger than Lake Superior. China saw the largest increase in bare ground, roughly 35 percent of the global total; 17 percent occurred in the United States. Flagging an area as “bare ground gain” means that Landsat satellites observed a vegetation loss without significant regrowth of greener...

Full article: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=91025&...

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