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New Research Shows The World Is Much Greener Than 20 Years Ago

New Research Shows The World Is Much Greener Than 20 Years Ago

The study was performed by a team from Boston University alongside NASA

Tom Wood

Tom Wood

A new study has discovered that the world is significantly more green than it was 20 years ago.

Finally, some decent news about the environment. Well, sort of.

Basically, what's happened is that India and China have planted a whole load of trees in an ambitious bid to offset their pollution. Whilst that is a great idea, it's not exactly working. India and China are amongst the world's top polluters, so there is a lot to offset.

Also, despite the fact that a heap of trees have been planted, the researchers are keen to say that it isn't enough to cancel out the damage that has been caused through deforestation.

NASA Earth Observatory

The research shows that there has been 5 per cent more greenery each year compared to the amount during the 2000s. In total, an area larger than that of the Amazon rainforest has been planted. That's two million square miles of extra green, which can only be a good thing, right?

The study was performed by a team from Boston University. Chi Chen, who led the research, said that the two superpowers that have been planting trees 'account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9 percent of the planet's land area covered in vegetation'.

The Boston University folks worked alongside NASA, using the space agency's MODIS tool - which is basically a camera that orbits the earth on two satellites taking incredibly high resolution pictures and sending them back - to plot the earth's greenery growth.

NASA Earth Observatory

China only has 6.6 per cent of the world's foliage, despite being massive. However, it has been responsible for around 25 per cent of the total greenery growth.

India has chipped in 6.8 per cent of the growth, too. Not bad.

However, this study has a wider importance because the data will then help inform future research into climate change prediction models. Rama Nemani - one of NASA's research scientists - said: "This long-term data lets us dig deeper.

"When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilisation from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to more leaf growth in northern forests, for instance.

"Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also contributing.

NASA Earth Observatory

Well, it's not exactly going to turn the tide of climate change in our favour, but it is important to recognise even small victories. After all, it's up to us to change things.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Interesting, Technology, space