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NASA celebrates 20 years of continuous satellite imagery

This week marks the 20 year anniversary since NASA launched an invaluable satellite into space. Since then, the "sea-viewing wide-field-of-view sensor" satellite or SeaWiFS, has been continuously observing life on land and in the water, tracking changes and providing humans the opportunity to predict the unthinkable.

This satellite is different from the GOES visible imagery satellite, because it can see life activity in the ocean and on land. It sees as trees green up during the spring, ice caps freeze and melt in the arctic, and ocean organisms, like phytoplankton,  bloom.

When it first launched in 1997, the satellite imagery visualized an El Nino transitioning to a La Nina, because it saw where phytoplankton was blooming in the ocean. This is the type of data that has helped meteorologists determine winter weather patterns in the U.S.

“It’s long term-data that not only allows us to see exactly what’s happening, but to be able, in a so much better way, to predict what’s going to happen”, says Dr. Ivona Cetinic, a NASA Oceanographer.

This satellite imagery has been used to predict everything from disease outbreaks to climate change, and it can even help with farming. For instance, a California winery uses individual pixels of data to determine when to irrigate and how much water to use.

The longer the satellite collects data, the more information we have to improve life on our one-of-a-kind planet.

Make sure you go to NASA Earth’s website and twitter page to check out articles, images and videos that they will be posting all week, in hopes to teach everyone about their amazing advances and discoveries.

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