Last week marked the 10th anniversary of NASA's Earth Observatory, which is one of the best places on the Internet to gain a new appreciation for the mysteries of the planet we call home, and for how human activities are changing its atmosphere and ecosystems.
The observatory, whose stated mission is to "share with the public the images, stories, and discoveries about climate and the environment that emerge from NASA research," has put together a remarkable collection of imagery during the past decade. It recently posted a gallery of top 10 images, as judged by site users, which is simply breathtaking. My guess is that one of these images will soon wind up as your desktop background image, if you're like me and change yours on a regular basis to prevent boredom in your computer relationship.
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The Earth Observatory's "Images of the Day" are frequently newsworthy, including recent ones documenting the collapse of the Wilkins Ice Bridge in Antarctica, and others showing the damaging fires along the South Carolina coast.
You can subscribe to the Earth Observatory's email digests that highlight their recent noteworthy images. The email content varies from the intriguing to the completely random. For example, my guess is that "sulfur dioxide emissions in Bulgaria," which was the image of the day on January 27th of this year, did not drive much traffic to their site. Nevertheless, much of the weekly digest content is worth checking out. I tend to scan the new images for anything newsworthy or different, occasionally muttering to myself, "Why thank you NASA, I would love to take a moment to look at Volcanic Activity on Mt. Erebus, instead of doing the work I should be doing." At the very least, procrastination of that sort has made me more prepared to answer a pub trivia question such as: "Where is earth's southernmost volcano, and what is it called?"
The site contains numerous postings relevant to global climate change, from remote sensing data on deforestation in tropical countries, to global temperature data and imagery of extreme weather events.