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Satellite imaging breakthrough by Stanford scientists improves ability to measure plant growth

23 March 2017

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Satellite images of Earth's plant life have been valuable for managing crops or detecting deforestation, but current methods are often contaminated by light reflected by other things like clouds, soil and snow. Now, researchers at Stanford and the Carnegie Institution for Science have unlocked the potential of decades-old satellites with a technological tweak to better isolate the signal from plants alone.

The new approach avoids previous shortcomings and provides a relatively affordable way to collect data, as it doesn't require launching new satellites with expanded capabilities. The results, published in Science Advances, have implications for our understanding of agriculture, biodiversity and global change writ large.

Source: Stanford Univeristy

Image credit: Ari Kornfeld - Amazon's treetops reveal variations in brigthness, according to plant growth