Climate change can sometimes act as an abstract concept, under which it is difficult to imagine something specific if you are not a household that has dried up a well. But with Google Earth, you can get a picture of how the world has changed due to temperature fluctuations, literally. The service has added several time-lapse 3D videos to its virtual Earth, showing the evolution of the landscape over several decades, especially in the regions most affected by climate change.
Google even calls the news the biggest update to Google Earth since 2017. Now you can see our planet in a whole new dimension of time, the company describes the video, which can be found under the Voyager tab in the Timelapse category. You can either view them directly in the application, or you can find them in a public folder, from where you can also download them for free as MP4. There is definitely a lot to choose from, there are more than 800 videos, even older ones.
At the same time, however, it is not a very positive view. It is clear everywhere how the valuable nature disappears from the planet directly under our hands, and to draw attention to this problem is the purpose of the whole project, as confirmed by the head of Google Earth engineer Rebecca Moore. According to her, it is an ideal tool with which authorities or educational institutions can work. For this reason, the videos are divided into several topics - energy sources, forest change, urban growth, rising temperatures, and fragile beauty.
Time-lapse data comes mainly from NASA, a total of 24 million satellite images taken by the agency between 1984 and 2020. The videos also included the USGS and the European Space Agency (ESA), specifically its Copernicus program (which will eventually be driven from Prague). All the materials together created a mosaic of 4.4 million therapies.
And if anyone worries about the carbon footprint of producing similar videos, Google claims that the timelines came from data centers powered by purely renewable energy.