Global Ecology and Remote Sensing

Today the Earth's ecology is routinely monitored using satellites in space. In the U.S. a variety of federal agencies, including the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), conduct satellite remote sensing of the Earth's ecosystems on a global scale. Each of these agencies maintains many different web sites to make satellite information and images available to the general public.

For educators, these web based resources provide an unparalleled opportunity to teach about the human impact on the Earth's ecosystems. From this material a new sense of the global scale of the humanity's impact is emerging, a scale that crosses international boundaries, continents, and oceans alike.

The contents of the web papers below include a variety of familiar topics ranging from air and water pollution, to climate change, to the loss of biodiversity. What is new are the images from space of humanity's impact on the world's ecosystems; images that show the magnitude of that impact as never before.

Remote Sensing of the Earth by Satellites (1.5 MB pdf)

Asian Air Pollution (5.5 MB pdf)

Marine Phytoplankton Blooms (4 MB pdf)

Water Pollution and Algal Blooms in U.S. Coastal Waters (2.7 MB pdf)

Biodiversity Hot Spots: The Florida Everglades (2.0 MB pdf)

Freshwater Shortage and Desertification (2.0 MB pdf)

The Aral Sea (2.9 MB pdf)

The Colorado River: An Ecological Case Study (Index)

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