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MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)

Topics covered:

  1. Awareness in space.


MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)


What to study?

For Prelims: MODIS- objectives and significance.

For Mains: Greening efforts by China and India, significance.


Context: NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data shows that China and India are leading the increase in “greening efforts” across the world.


Key findings:

  • Global green leaf area has increased by 5% since the early 2000s. This translates to a net increase in leaf area of 2.3% per decade, which is equivalent to adding 5.4 × 106 sq km new leaf area over the 18-year period of the record (2000 to 2017). This is equivalent to the area of the Amazon.
  • China alone accounts for 25% of the global net increase in leaf area. India has contributed a further 6.8%.
  • The greening in China is from forests (42%) and croplands (32%) but in India is mostly from croplands (82%) with minor contribution from forests (4.4%).
  • With only 2.7% of the global vegetated area, India accounts for 6.8% of the global net increase in leaf area. It is as expected because most of the land cover type in India is cropland. Total cereal production in India increased by 26% during the same period.
  • There are only a few forests in India, and that is why their contribution is small. Data show that since Independence, a fifth of India’s land has consistently been under forests.
  • The Forest Survey of India’s State of Forest Report 2017 had recorded that forest cover had increased by 6,600 sq km or 0.21% since 2015.


About MODIS:

MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) is a key instrument aboard the Terra (originally known as EOS AM-1) and Aqua (originally known as EOS PM-1) satellites.

Terra’s orbit around the Earth is timed so that it passes from north to south across the equator in the morning, while Aqua passes south to north over the equator in the afternoon.

Terra MODIS and Aqua MODIS are viewing the entire Earth’s surface every 1 to 2 days, acquiring data in 36 spectral bands, or groups of wavelengths.

Significance: These data will improve our understanding of global dynamics and processes occurring on the land, in the oceans, and in the lower atmosphere. MODIS is playing a vital role in the development of validated, global, interactive Earth system models able to predict global change accurately enough to assist policy makers in making sound decisions concerning the protection of our environment.


Sources: The Hindu.