This is an extended caption of the GIF graphics file called BIOS.GIF. Image and caption ar

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This is an extended caption of the GIF graphics file called BIOS.GIF. Image and caption are courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. FIRST IMAGE OF THE GLOBAL BIOSPHERE This illustration of the global biosphere is part of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's program of Earth-science research. It shows, for the first time, the patterns of plant life both on the land and in the oceans as observed from space. The illustration was produced by combining data from two different satellites and shows Earth as a complex system, teeming with life. OCEAN MEASUREMENTS The ocean portion is a composite of more than 66,000 images collected between November 1978 and June 1986 by the Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS), which flew on the Goddard-managed NIMBUS-7 satellite launched in October 1978. The ocean color measurements made by the CZCS indicate the distribution and abundance of phytoplankton in Earth's oceans. Phytoplankton are microscopic plants that grow in the upper sunlight regions of the ocean and are the ultimate food source for most marine life. Their uptake of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis may also be a key factor in helping us to better understand the role of the oceans in the global carbon cycle. Red and orange colors indicate areas of high concentrations. Yellow and green represent areas of moderate concentration. Blue and violet colors represent the lowest concentrations. The high phytoplankton concentrations along coasts and other regions where wind and currents mix the cooler, nutrient-rich waters near the surface, are often rich with fish and wildlife. LAND MEASUREMENTS The land vegetation image is a composite of three years of data, collected during 15,000 orbits from the Advance Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) flown on the NOAA-7 satellite, launched in June 1981. The AVHRR measured land-surface radiation, which can be a measure of the potential for vegetation production on land. The dark green areas (rain forests) show the highest potential for vegetation growth. The lighter shades of green highlight tropical and subtropical forests, temperate forests and farmlands, and some drier regions such as savannahs and pampas. The yellow shades in the United States Midwest show lower potential. The great deserts of the world are evident as the lighter shades of yellow. The snow and ice covered regions are shown to have no productive potential in this image. This study is part of NASA's multiyear global research program called Mission to Planet Earth that will use ground-based, airborne, and space-based instruments to study Earth as a complete environmental system. Mission to Planet Earth is NASA's contribution to the US Global Change Research Program, a multi-agency effort to understand, analyze, and predict better the effect of human activity on Earth's environment. Goddard Space Flight Center's projects for Mission to Planet Earth include: the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite; Earth Probes, such as the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission; the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer; and the Earth Observing System, the most ambitious science mission ever undertaken.

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