"By moving the slider, the user can compare 1990 false-color Landsat views (left) with recent true-color imagery (right). Humans are increasingly transforming Earth’s surface—through direct activities such as farming, mining, and building, and indirectly by altering its climate."
"While people often say that borders aren’t visible from space, the line between Kazakhstan and China could not be more clear in this satellite image. Acquired by the Landsat 8 satellite on September 9, 2013, the image shows northwestern China around the city of Qoqek and far eastern Kazakhstan near Lake Balqash.
The border between the two countries is defined by land-use policies. In China, land use is intense. Only 11.62 percent of China’s land is arable. Pressed by a need to produce food for 1.3 billion people, China farms just about any land that can be sustained for agriculture. Fields are dark green in contrast to the surrounding arid landscape, a sign that the agriculture is irrigated. As of 2006, about 65 percent of China’s fresh water was used for agriculture, irrigating 629,000 square kilometers (243,000 square miles) of farmland, an area slightly smaller than the state of Texas.
The story is quite different in Kazakhstan. Here, large industrial-sized farms dominate, an artifact of Soviet-era agriculture. While agriculture is an important sector in the Kazakh economy, eastern Kazakhstan is a minor growing area. Only 0.03 percent of Kazakhstan’s land is devoted to permanent agriculture, with 20,660 square kilometers being irrigated. The land along the Chinese border is minimally used, though rectangular shapes show that farming does occur in the region. Much of the agriculture in this region is rain-fed, so the fields are tan much like the surrounding natural landscape."
Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, environment modify, food, agriculture, agricultural land change.
“ You’re taking a summer stroll along a nice trail when you come across a body of water. “That’s a beautiful lake,” you think to yourself. Or ... wait. Is that a beautiful pond? What's the difference between the two, anyway?”
Via Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks
"The desperate men, women, and children flooding into Europe from the Middle East and Africa are not the only people moving along ever-shifting and dangerous migration routes. Last year saw the highest levels of global forced displacement on record—59.5 million individuals left their homes in 2014 due to 'persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations' according to the United Nations. That's 8.3 million more people than the year before."
"Last week, a major tourist thruway in Yellowstone National Park had to be shut down because the road melted. The road’s Wicked Witch of the West impression was caused by high temperatures in both the air and under the ground. Yellowstone sits atop a volcanic hotspot, and that heat helped cause the asphalt to soften and oil to well up onto the surface."
Via Seth Dixon
EnviroAtlas is a collection of interactive tools and resources that allows users to explore the many benefits people receive from nature, often referred to as ecosystem services. Key components of EnviroAtlas include the following:
A multi-scaled Interactive Map with broad scale data for the lower 48 states and fine scale data for selected communitiesThe Eco-Health Relationship Browser, which shows the linkages between ecosystems, the services they provide, and human healthEcosystem services information, GIS and analysis tools, and written resources
Via Seth Dixon
Mexico has an inequality problem. The uneven distribution of wealth is perhaps best illustrated by a series of images captured by photographer Oscar Ruíz in Mexico City. Produced by ad firm Publicis, the campaign seeks to to highlight the huge...
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