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SPRING IS IN THE AIR; CLIMATE CHANGE: IRELAND FROM SPACE.

Byline: NAOMI MCELROY

THESE are the amazing satellite photos that show that spring has SPRUNG.

It's been feeling a little warmer lately, but now thanks to these stateof-the-art pictures you can see the arrival of spring as you've never seen it before - from space.

The information comes from Infoterra which has developed the PHenology And Vegetation Earth Observation Service (PHAVEOS) to monitor seasonal changes in the state of vegetation."

The satellite pictures track changes in chlorophyll, the green pigment in all plants, to show how they respond to the warmer weather as winter fades.

Strangely, Ireland was greener back in January, when we were in the grip of our coldest weather in 50 years, but Infoterra experts explained this is all part of the natural process.

Even after the coldest weather is over, the chlorophyll, the natural pigment in all plants that turns them green, is still breaking down, and this carries on after the coldest snaps, until the weather starts to heat up again.

A spokesman said: "There is a general decrease in the chlorophyll levels in the vegetation as the map turns browner.

"This is because chlorophyll is still breaking down because most plants are not actively growing. This is often described as the 'winter burn'."

But as time passes, and the weather heats up, the country becomes green again.

Bright green areas on the map show evergreen forests, and stay the same colour all year round.

White spots, like the area over Lough Neagh in Ulster, or Lough Corrib in Connacht, occur over cities, lakes and rivers, or mountains, all areas with little or no vegetative cover. Smaller white areas are expected to disappear as Spring progresses and plants grow.

Valentia was both the wettest and warmest location in Ireland during March.

Met Eireann figures show that the highest average temperature for March, 7.3 degrees, was registered at the Kerry station.

However, records also show this was Valentia's coldest March since 1987. The station also logged 159 hours of sunshine, its highest for March since 1955. 126mm of rain was recorded at the Kerry weather station last month, making it the wettest location in Ireland during March.

19TH FEB 2010: Seasonal dip as chlorophyll dies off

22ND MAR 2010: Plants begin their growing cycle again

IRELAND FREEZING: A delivery man works in heavy snow in Cavan

IRELAND SUNSHINE: People delight when sun hits the sand
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 11, 2010
Words:399
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