Detailed maps of the world’s landscapes, created using NASA satellite data, could help scientists better predict the impacts of future climate change. The maps of territories with predominant plant life, and productive ecosystems give the best data of how carbon from the atmosphere is reused and recycled by the Earth.
The maps reveal how the leaves, roots and wood in different natural habitats affect their ability to store carbon across the globe, and show that some ecosystems retain carbon longer than others. And although it is known that Earth’s natural ecosystems absorb and process large amounts of carbon dioxide, much less is known about where the carbon is stored and how long it remains there. A better understanding about how carbon is stored will allow researchers to more accurately predict the impacts of climate change.
New data can be added to the map as it becomes available. It will soon become clearer as to what our planet will become in the upcoming decades.