Monday, July 29, 2013

A Breathing Earth

Here's a view looking at one year of seasonal transformations on Earth.  Made possible by the tremendous folks of the NASA Visible Earth team, I downloaded the twelve cloud-free satellite imagery mosaics of Earth ("Blue Marble Next Generation") at each month of the year.  I wrapped them into some fun projections then stitched them together into a couple animated gifs...

Click here to see the large version (1.4 MB).
Click here to see the bonkers version (3.7 MB).
Don't click this small version or this tiny version.

Click here to see the large version (3 MB).
Click here to see the irrationally large version (8.9 MB).
Don't waste your time with this boring small version or this lame tiny version.

I of course had some expectation of what I would see as a result of animating these frames.  But I didn't expect to be so mesmerized by them.  I can't look away.

Why?
Having spent much of my life living near the center of that mitten-shaped peninsula in North America, I have had a consistent seasonal metronome through which I track the years of my life.  When I stitch together what can be an impersonal snapshot of an entire planet, all of the sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat. I can track one location throughout a year to compare the annual push and pull of snow and plant life there, while in my periphery I see the oscillating wave of life advancing and retreating, advancing and retreating.  And I'm reassured by it.

Of course there are the global characteristics of climate and the nature of land to heat and cool more rapidly than water.  The effects of warm currents feeding a surprisingly mild climate in the British Isles.  The snowy head start of winter in high elevations like the Himalayas, Rockies, and Caucuses, that spread downward to join the later snowiness of lower elevations.  The continental wave of growing grasses in African plains.

But, overall, to me it looks like breathing. And my pixel is right at an interesting intersection of life and ice, where the longest night of the year feels like forever, and the longest day of the year is a like a battery strapped to my back. My winter was especially dark. And my summer has been full of blessings -but I don't think either extreme would have been as memorable without the helpful (or painful) contrast of its opposite -all made possible by a 23.5° tilt.





31 comments:

  1. Hey Nelson,

    I work for Matador Network. We wanted to talk to you about republishing this article.

    Please let me know if you are interested and I'll follow up with more details.

    Kind regards, Katie

    katie@matadornetwork.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. yes, earth itself is a single giant living organism. carbonaceous meteoroids contains amino acid and organic chemistry are seeds of planets/cosmic bodies. as one tree is a result of one seed same one planet is a result of one meteoroid or seed of planet.
    http://yfrog.com/5ucorecrustj Core Crust

    http://yfrog.com/0g72697054j Plate Tectonic 4.

    http://yfrog.com/m9meteoriodj Meteoroids Seeds

    http://yfrog.com/5rasteoidplantj Asteroid Plant

    http://yfrog.com/5xvalcano2j Volacano Lava

    http://yfrog.com/6zpicxaj bark Earth & Tree

    http://yfrog.com/gh08810treebark1221170loj TREE BARKS

    http://yfrog.com/736a00d8341bf67c53ef0133fj Moon Shrinking & Bark

    http://yfrog.com/0tplatetectonics2j Subduction Zone


    http://yfrog.com/h4moo6j Safeda

    http://img705.imageshack.us/i/platetectonics.jpg/ PLATE TECTONIC LINK

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  3. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing those pictures with us. You're right, this is mesmerizing...

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  4. And now check controlled animation: http://megavisor.com/ru/catalog/1788 =)

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  5. "I have had a consistent seasonal metronome through which I track the years of my life"

    A nice turn of phrase and a sentiment I can truly empathize with. I live in the tropics now, and I miss that anchor.
    I posted your gifs on http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=252365, hope that's ok.

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  6. http://harunyahya.com/en/Daily-Comments/34656/a-scientific-miracle-of-the

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  7. Allah(God) in holy Qoran say
    “I swear …by the night when it draws in, and by the dawn when it exhales,;” (Surah At-Takwir, 17-18)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yahweh the only God commands: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3
      The Messiah; Jesus Christ, the son of God commands: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

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    2. Yeah - isn't it just great that Muslims worship the same God and have Jesus as a holy prophet too!

      Delete
  8. Very clever use of NASA images in a gif. I wish I had these last week when I posted about seasonal changes due to the earth's orientation to the sun http://grokearth.blogspot.com/2013/07/seasonal-change.html. May I use these in a future post if I give you full credit & link to your blog?

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    Replies
    1. Go for it, Bob! I really enjoyed your season explanation blog post. Of particular relevance was this great Steinbeck quote you found:
      “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
      ― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

      Thank you!

      Delete
  9. Beautiful! All this work that you/we do, posting it for free, is usurped by giant corporations' computers, and used to their advantage, putting us out of work. We should be compensated for all we do! See "Who Owns the Future" by Jaron Lanier who explains what is wrong with our digital economy, and how to fix it.

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  10. This is lovely. I kept wishing it would slow down a bit as I was naturally trying to breathe with her and then would get light headed and notice what I was doing. Mesmerizing and beautiful...thank you.

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  11. The next step is to create 10+ year span animation and see how the snow cover changes over time.
    Simple and genius idea man, great work.

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  12. you forgot to include the rotation of the earth and the moon in the equation.. I need all the facts to understand and take this on as a belief.. but it does pose an interesting perception.

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  13. Thank you! Soooo.. "Let everything that hath breath Praise the Lord"!
    Very cool.

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  14. Why doesn't it show the water freezing?

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  15. This is so beautiful. Thank you.

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  16. That is so awesome!! But it happens over a really long period of time.

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  17. "Because my god says so", is not a valid answer to the question, How do you know you have picked the correct god to hold before all others? Logically people of every faith would say the same of their god and that put everyone back at square one, unless you feel like your opinion is superior to everyone else. if I asked how you know your opinion is superior would your answer be because I said so?

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  18. From The Breathing Phenomenon

    North Of Earth Is Not Enough Air For Breathing

    Earth Are Pumping Now

    One Day We All Will Exhausted Without Enough Air For Breathing

    Is The Breathing Leaving Hole Wider Than Past Time ????????

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  19. Earth Breathing Difficulty Because Taking Too Much Antioxid Pills

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