Google Earth Now Shows Decades of Climate Change in Seconds


Google Earth has partnered with NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, and Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab to bring users time-lapse images of the planet’s surface – 24 million satellite photos taken over 37 years. Together, they offer photographic evidence of a planet changing faster than at any time in millenia. To learn more, read “Google Earth Now Shows Decades of Climate Change in Seconds.”  Reading this article may require a subscription from the news outlet.

Key Takeaways:

  • Timelapse, the name of the new Google Earth feature, is the largest video on the planet, according to a statement from the company.
  • The tool stitches together more than 50 years of imagery from the U.S,’s Landsat program, which is run by NASA and the USGS. When combined with images from European Sentinel-2 satellites, Landsat provides the equivalent of complete coverage of the Earth’s surface every two days.
  • Timelapse images are stark: warmer Atlantic waters and air temperatures are accelerating ice melt, and tree loss in Brazil surged by a quarter from 2019 to 2020.
  • Google Earth is expected to update Timelapse about once a year.

Path to 100% Perspective:

In 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that global emissions would need to reach net-zero (or carbon-neutral) by 2050 to prevent severe climate change impacts. Google Earth’s new tool shows that climate change is real and already having an impact. Electric utilities and governments across the world are moving toward 100% carbon-free energy. To succeed, they need to increase renewable generation while rapidly reducing the use of fossil fuels. Renewables and storage alone cannot rapidly decarbonize our power system fast enough. Optimizing power resources, renewable energy, and flexible fuels is the way to pave the Path to 100%.


Photo by NASA on Unsplash