Our Earth is changing rapidly. There is no doubt.
But people around the globe have a hard time seeing shrinking lakes and forests and urban sprawl from thousands of miles away.
TIME magazine and Google partnered with NASA and the U.S Geological Survey to create a series of “stunning” timelapse satellite photographs that show how the world has changed over nearly three decades. Google also has some of the most shocking visuals.
At the right-hand corner of the box of satellite images you can type in a location, such as Buffalo, and witness the changes that have occurred here.
But Buffalo’s changes in the past 30 years aren’t jaw dropping.
You’ll see light evidence of urban sprawl, but nothing like what’s happened in Las Vegas:
What’s mind numbing in the timelapse of Las Vegas is the disappearing lake, but scroll through the map and see the massive urban sprawl.
Check out the drying of the Aral Sea in Central Asia:
Or the deforestation of the Amazon in Brazil:
Google’s Rebecca Moore wrote on googleblog today that they believe this is the most comprehensive set of visuals of global changes ever made available to the public.
Much like the iconic image of Earth from the Apollo 17 mission—which had a profound effect on many of us—this time-lapse map is not only fascinating to explore, but we also hope it can inform the global community’s thinking about how we live on our planet and the policies that will guide us in the future. A special thanks to all our partners who helped us to make this happen.