COOL IMAGES: Earth, Wind, and Fire

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Science  14 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5417, pp. 1083
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5417.1083a

These blue and purple splotches reveal the dramatic growth of the southern ozone hole in the 1980s. The view comes from Earth Observatory, a new NASA Web site that aims to explain earth science satellites to the public. At the site's Observation Deck, you can choose from 12 kinds of data gathered over the past decade—stats on everything from sea temperature to clouds, fires, and vegetation—and with a few clicks make animations like these. Meant to “operate much like a popular weekly news magazine,” according to the site, the Earth Observatory also offers news, articles, and lessons on topics such as how much carbon dioxide gets sucked up by boreal forests and why scientists study polar ice. Loads more data will be added come July, if NASA successfully launches Terra—“one of the biggest earth science satellites ever,” says Web team member Robert Simmon.

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