Google Earth’s New Timelapse Feature Shows Disturbing Effects Of Climate Change


    Google Earth has launched an innovative new feature that allows you to witness the effects of climate change on the planet over the last four decades.

    24-million satellite images have been compiled into a time-lapse video feature, which allows the user to zoom in anywhere in the world and watch 37 years-worth of climate change unfold.

    It’s the biggest update to Google Earth since 2017, when it was redesigned. Google Earth teamed up with NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission (EC) and the US Geological Survey to make it happen.

    The collaboration meant data from five satellites, each owned by different space agencies or governing bodies, could be combined to paint a picture of how climate change is affecting our planet. The US government and the EU have worked closely together to get this project off the ground by allowing satellite data to be shared.

    ‘Users can now take a journey across the world, exploring the ever-changing shapes of coastlines, follow the growth of megacities, track deforestation and much more,’ the ESA wrote.

    ‘As far as we know, Timelapse in Google Earth is the largest video on the planet, of our planet,’ said Rebecca Moore, Director, Google Earth, Earth Engine & Outreach, in a blog post about the new tool.

    ‘As we looked at what was happening, five themes emerged: forest change, urban growth, warming temperatures, sources of energy, and our world’s fragile beauty,’ she said.

    ‘I myself was among the thousands of Californians evacuated from their homes during the state’s wildfires last year.’

    ‘For other people, the effects of climate change feel abstract and far away, like melting ice caps and receding glaciers. With Timelapse in Google Earth, we have a clearer picture of our changing planet right at our fingertips – one that shows not just problems but also solutions, as well as mesmerisingly beautiful natural phenomena that unfold over decades.’

    Google Earth first launched in 2001, but users can see the world as far back as forty years. Since its launch, Google Earth data has been used by NGOs to monitor the natural world, schools, governing bodies, and the wider public.

    Timelapse will be updated every year over the next decade to continue to map climate change and provide tangible evidence for how we can help reverse the negative effects of human activity on the environment.


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