Recently, the Google Earth application has been enhanced with a Timelapse function as well as several tens of millions of new satellite images. These allow us to observe the evolution and especially the acceleration of global warming of the Earth over the last four decades.
24 million new images
Active since 2001, Google earth is an application of Earth visualization developed using an assembly of aerial and satellite photographs. However, you should know that its latest version includes a Timelapse function, allowing you to observe in accelerated the construction of a building or even a simple sunset. However, this same version is accompanied by many new images allowing to go much further. Now Google Earth gives the opportunity to observe the effects of climate anywhere on the planet. These new images – 24 million in number – were taken over the period 1984-2020, almost four decades.
You should know that this painstaking work required two million hours of treatment on many machines in the cloud. As part of these improvements, Google has received assistance from NASA as well as the Landsat observing programs of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and European Union Copernicus. Another example is the participation of the Create Lab at Carnegie Mellon University (United States).
A function that requires resources
This imposing collective work therefore gives the possibility of observing many phenomena. These include melting ice caps, retreating glaciers and the impact of forest fires and desertification. It is also possible to observe urban growth, which has been known to be rampant for years. In addition, Google recommends having a sufficiently powerful computer for the use of this function, as well as a good Internet connection. If so, the whole thing will certainly lack fluidity. In order to use the function, just log into Google Earth and click on Timelapse on the home page.
Finally, remember that Google Earth comes back from time to time in the media. This application sometimes allows certain discoveries, like this unknown rainforest in 2018 located on a mountain in Mozambique. In 2019, we mentioned the fact that Taiwan was showing military sites classified as defense-secret in Google Earth. We should also mention the observation of many rather strange places, such as geoglyphs in Kazakhstan and Jordan or even strange shapes in the Nevada desert (United States) and other “sensual lips” in Sudan.
Here is the presentation of the Timelapse function by Google: