Google Earth users can now see the striking effect of climate change over the past four decades.
Google’s latest feature, Timelapse, is an eye opening, technical feat that provides visual evidence of how the Earth has changed due to climate change and human behaviour. The tool takes the platform’s static imagery and turns it into a dynamic 4D experience, allowing users to click through timelapses that highlight melting ice caps, receding glaciers, massive urban growth and wildfires’ impact on agriculture.
Timelapse compiles 24 million satellite photos taken from 1984 to 2020, an effort Google said took two million processing hours across thousands of machines in Google Cloud.
For the project, the company worked with NASA, the United States Geological Survey’s Landsat program — the world’s longest-running Earth observation program — the European Union’s Copernicus program and its Sentinel satellites, and Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab, which helped develop the technology behind Timelapse.