Ice caps shrinking. Rivers flooding. Lakes disappearing. Drought spreading. These are some of the effects of climate change documented by NASA in a striking gallery. Almost 300 photographs and satellite images bring home the damage that’s been done by the 1,890 gigatons of carbon dioxide humans have released into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. During that time, Earth’s global temperature has increased by .85° Celsius (1.5° Fahrenheit).
According to the latest data, we’ve got 1.15 degrees to go before we hit the 2°C (3.6°F) upper boundary that climate scientists have identified as dangerous. Recently, scientists made clear that we’re likely to pass the 2°C benchmark by 2100, and that a more achievable goal is to stave off a rise of 2.2 to 5.6° C (4 to 10° F). After that point, Earth could become uninhabitable versus merely unpleasant. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is still debating whether or not climate change is real.
But hope springs amid the wreckage. Some of the images document positive changes: a decrease in air pollution in the northeastern U.S., for example, and an increase in the presence of solar panels in Spain. So here’s an idea. Let Congress click through this gallery. Maybe that will set them straight.
Images via NASA