What does Christmas look like from space?

What does Christmas look like from space?

By Will Bugler

Earth observation data has huge potential to enrich our understanding of the world around us. With increasingly advanced satellites continuously capturing high resolution data, it is possible to monitor the planet like never before. By analysing patterns in earth observation data, it is possible to better understand complex socio-ecological relationships. This data has huge potential to increase our understanding of and response to climate change and its impacts, especially in parts of the world where other forms of climate data are scarce. As a member of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and working with clients including ESA Acclimatise continues to explore how earth observation data can be used to inform climate adaptation and risk management.

As an illustration of the power of satellite data to inform us about the environment and human behaviour, NASA released a video that shows what the world looks like during Christmas, Ramadan, and celebrations around the world. Unsurprisingly the researchers found that more intense light is emitted around Christmas and New Year’s as people gather in clusters and turn on their festive decorations. However, some of the more subtle changes revealed other interesting things about human behaviour during festivities…


Photo: source: Jesse Allen / NASA Earth Observatory: Green patches in Texas indicate that Dallas and Houston celebrated hard in 2014.

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