In December 1972, NASA's Apollo 17 mission took the iconic photograph of Earth known as The Blue Marble.
A photograph of Earth taken from Apollo 17 in 1972. Credit: NASA
Now this portrait is now historicalartifact. Fifty years later, on December 8, 2022, NASA took a new image of the Earth using the Deep Space Climate Observatory, which is about 1.5 million km from the planet.
Scientists compared both images at a conferenceUniversity of Portsmouth "The Whole Earth: The Blue Marble in 50 Years". The planet has changed markedly since 1972, and the image shows the effects of climate change over the past 50 years.
The Antarctic ice sheet has shrunk noticeably, although the main loss of the Larsen Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula is not visible in this particular image.
New NASA photo taken December 8, 2022. Credit: DSCOVR/NASA
Although it is difficult to distinguish snow on satellite imagesfrom the clouds, in the original photo you can see it can be seen on the Zagros and Central mountain ranges in Iran (north of the Persian Gulf). The new image doesn't show it at all.
Most striking reduction in dark greenvegetation in the African tropics, especially in their northern part. The dark shadow of Lake Chad in the northern part of the Sahara has diminished, and the forest vegetation has receded hundreds of kilometers to the south.
Also, the once green landscape of Madagascar is now mostly brown. This indicates a reduction in the forest area.
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This material has been republished under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article on The Conversation.