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87,000 NASA Images Show a Greening Arctic

Flowers carpet the tundra in Nunavut, the northernmost territory of Canada. Photo credit: DB Marsh/Library and Archives Canada via Flickr

The researchers report in the Journal of Remote Sensing that examination of 87,000 images captured by the NASA Landsat satellite reveals that Alaska, Quebec and other regions became greener between 1984 and 2012.

Landsat, a project also backed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), provides the longest space-based record of land vegetation in existence.

Growing in Size

“The greening trend was unmistakable,” the scientists reported. In Canada, northern forests tended to become greener, although if anything they declined in Alaska. Overall, 29.4 percent of the region became greener, and only 2.9 percent declined.

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