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EarthSky // Today's Image Release Date: Mar 14, 2013

The greening of Earth’s northerly latitudes

Temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982.

A 30-year record of land surface and satellite data sets suggests that vegetation growth at Earth's northern latitudes increasingly resembles more lush latitudes to the south.  View larger.

A 30-year record of land surface and satellite data sets suggests that vegetation growth at Earth’s northern latitudes increasingly resembles more lush latitudes to the south. View larger. Map via NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

The map above illustrates the results of a new 30-year NASA study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change earlier this week (March 10, 2013). The study suggests that – of the 10 million square miles (26 million square kilometers) of northern vegetated lands – 34 to 41 percent showed increases in plant growth (green and blue). Meanwhile, 3 to 5 percent showed decreases in plant growth (orange and red), and 51 to 62 percent showed no changes (yellow) over the past 30 years.

Read more: Amplified greenhouse effect shifts northern latitude growing seasons

Bottom line: Over the past 30 years, 34 to 41 percent of vegetated lands at Earth’s northerly latitudes have gotten greener over the past 30 years, according to a NASA study published March 10, 2013 in Nature Climate Change.

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