Maps measure net primary production


  • Randy Showstack


New maps of Earth's net primary production are the first consistent and continuous global measurements of the rate that plant life absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, NASA announced on 23 April.

The maps incorporate measurements of plant properties collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, with other satellite- and surface-based measurements to produce a map every eight days that indicates how much carbon dioxide is taken in by vegetation during photosynthesis, minus the amount given off during respiration. This global measure of biological productivity of land and marine plants could provide insights into Earth's carbon cycle, according to NASA scientists.