Happy Fall! Observe the changes across the landscape in seasonal images in Northeast Iowa. Snow, forest, farmland. Can you notice the areas of coniferous trees versus deciduous trees and where there is seasonal farmland compared to pasture areas? Also notice the changes along the Mississippi and Upper Iowa Rivers. Enjoy the changing seasons!
This year we are celebrating 50 years of the Landsat earth observing satellite mission. Landsat data helps us observe changes in our communities and environment over time.
Welcome to another Throwback Thursday. Today we are going back into the archives to compare imagery from the first five Landsat satellites (all images are featured in natural color). Click on each image for a closer view.
Try to notice the differences in resolution and image quality between the different years.
Another thing to note is the wide seasonal variation between the images. All the images were from the same three week period in April. Some images are have snow while other years are very green.
Observe that the Des Moines River is swollen in the Landsat 4 -1983 image.
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.