A Breathing Earth, Animated GIFs Show the Planet’s Seasonal Changes

Breathing Earth

John Nelson has created “A Breathing Earth,” a series of animated GIFs made from NASA’s cloud-free satellite imagery of the Earth that show the oscillations of snow and greenery as the seasons change.

I of course had some expectation of what I would see as a result of animating these frames. But I didn’t expect to be so mesmerized by them. I can’t look away. Why? Having spent much of my life living near the center of that mitten-shaped peninsula in North America, I have had a consistent seasonal metronome through which I track the years of my life. When I stitch together what can be an impersonal snapshot of an entire planet, all of the sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat. I can track one location throughout a year to compare the annual push and pull of snow and plant life there, while in my periphery I see the oscillating wave of life advancing and retreating, advancing and retreating. And I’m reassured by it.

Larger versions of the GIFs can be found at Nelson’s website.

Breathing Earth

images via John Nelson

via Fast Company

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