This week marks 40 years since the Mount St. Helens eruption. The image above is from the USGS Earthshots trading card series. The images are displayed in color infrared which is useful for showing living vegetation in red. The mountains surrounding Mount St. Helens are primarily forest. Notice the extreme change in the landscape from the 1973 image to the post eruption image in 1983. The damage was extensive and ash covered much of the surrounding forest land.
The USGS has produced an amazing collection of images (also available as trading cards!) that show Earth’s change over time. The Earthshot collection has a wide variety of examples of change over time including: – natural phenomena changes (glaciers, deserts,) – social change (city growth,) – human interaction with the natural world (mining, deforestation, agriculture,) – natural disasters (hurricanes, tornado damage, flooding.)
Below are two examples of the trading cards, Mount St. Helens pre/post volcanic explosion and Las Vegas, Nevada population growth over time.
If you view a location on through the browser you will get about 5 images you can review as well as context about the images.
A couple weeks ago Bloomberg News posted an interesting article (click here to read the article) showing how the stay at home orders are effecting areas around the world using high resolution satellite imagery. Below is an example showing Venice, Italy on October 20, 2019 compared to March 18, 2020 after the residents were asked to stay at home. It is interesting to compare the water clarity and traffic.
The article highlights numerous sites around the globe including: Wuhan, China (before shutdown / after shutdown); Mecca in Saudia Arabia; Venice, Italy; Epcot Center in Florida, USA; Tianjin, China; and Miami Beach, Florida, USA.
As you look out your window you may be noticing that grass is beginning to green up, the lilac bushes are growing new leaves, and a robin is gathering material for a nest. These observations are scientifically termed phenology– the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena relating to climate, plant, and animal life.
As spring begins with many of us social distancing it is a good time to turn our attention towards nature and consider joining the National Phenology Network USA’s Nature’s Notebook program. Nature’s Notebook is a group of volunteer observers (students and citizen scientists) from around the USA who pick an observation site and commit to regularly recording data about it throughout a season. This data can then be used by scientists around the world to better understand changes in climate and plant/animal life around the country.
The Nature’s Notebook website has many useful resources for establishing your observation site as well as ideas for which species to observe. The website also has activities and lesson planning ideas for children and young people. Participating in Nature’s Notebook might be a good adventure during the weeks that school is closed and the days are getting nicer.