This Amazing NASA App Puts The Planet in The Palm of Your Hand

NASA's Earth Now smartphone app. Image: Daily Planet
NASA's Earth Now smartphone app. Image: Daily Planet

All you want for Christmas… is this amazing NASA app that visualises near-real-time planet-wide climate data from a fleet of Earth science satellites.

With the incoming US president threatening to shut down NASA’s Earth observation programmes, now is the time to give “Earth Now” a go while it is still fully functional.

The free app, available for Apple and Android devices, displays data on many of the key vital signs of planet Earth that NASA satellites track, including carbon dioxide levels and global sea levels.

At the time of the app’s launch, back in 2012, NASA’s Michael Greene called it “a great resource for students, teachers and anyone interested in Earth’s changing climate.”

Data at Your Fingertips

Whether your interest is current surface air temperatures over Australia, carbon dioxide over Belgium, ozone over Canada, water vapor over Germany, gravity anomalies in Greenland or sea level height anomalies at Marseille – the app brings a world of ever-changing climate data to your fingertips, according to NASA.

The regularly updated data is displayed as colour maps projected over a 3D Earth model that can be rotated and zoomed in and out.

Colour-coded legends indicate the relative strength or weakness of environmental conditions and descriptions provide background information on each data set.

Earth Now is closely integrated with NASA’s Climate Change website, which is also well worth a visit while it still exists.

European Earth Observation

Should NASA’s earth observation activities really be scaled back significantly, Europe may have to step up and increase its efforts in that field to maintain a steady supply of climate data.

Europe’s Copernicus programme is already working on this. Copernicus consists of a complex set of systems which collect data from multiple sources. The programme is expanding its network of Earth observation satellite, and also maintains sensors at ground stations as well as airborne sensors and sensors at sea.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the programme is teaming up with Climate-KIC, the EU’s climate innovation initiative, to accelerate the use of its data in creating climate change solutions.

You can find out more about Copernicus on the organisation’s website, or by following them on Twitter and Facebook.

Interested in the business opportunities of climate data? Find out about Climate-KIC’s programmes for students and start-ups.

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