The planet’s condition may not be as bad as some people have speculated. According to new maps published by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Earth has actually become greener over the past few years.
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A map that was released by NASA shows that the greenness of the planet increased between the years of 2000 and 2018 across the world. In February 2019, NASA reported that the planet was greener then than it was back in the 1980s. This map indicated the trend in the leaf area index, which is the amount of leaf area in comparison to the ground area, during the growing season.
The map that was released by NASA also indicated an increase in the green cover in the Arctic and boreal regions, which researchers have attributed to temperatures rising in these regions. The mean summer-time temperature in this region has increased from 2.9 degrees Celsius to 4.7 degrees Celsius between 1986 and 2015.
Researchers have found that global greening is the result of the presence of an increased amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. What is surprising is that this phenomenon has actually made the Earth cooler. Scientists have said that increased global greening that happened from the early 1980s onward may have been responsible for the lowering of global warming by as much as 0.2 to 0.25 degrees Celsius.
It is rather ironic that the carbon emissions that are responsible for bringing about harmful climatic changes have also fertilized plant growth, which has, in turn, moderated global warming. Researchers have said that while this greening effect and the associated cooling is certainly beneficial, it is important for us to reduce carbon emissions to keep the planet as habitable as it is now.