To create this mesmerizing animated gif of Earth changing with the seasons, designer, cartographer, and data visualization expert John Nelson used a sequence of monthly cloudless satellite images of Earth. The images originate from NASA’s Visible Earth project.
It’s certainly apt that Nelson has labeled the sequence “A Breathing Earth”, because when viewed like this, our planet really does look like a living, breathing system, with all of us contained within it.
On his blog, Nelson said these words about creating the gif: “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…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.”