We hear plenty of news about melting glaciers, droughts and massive industrial projects that are dramatically changing the face of the planet, but it’s still easy for those things to remain abstract concepts because the scale is so large. (Not to mention the new administration’s attempts to wipe out all mention of climate change.) But NASA remains resolute in its efforts to communicate the truth, recently releasing its “Images of Change” series, a collection of before and after images that show just how much and how fast certain locations on Earth have changed over the past 30 years.
As Forbes columnist, Trevor Nace notes, “(t)he series shines light on how rapidly our planet has changed in the recent decades due largely to urbanization and climate change. The series allows for clear and apparent contrast of environmental systems over the past decades. Some processes are unlinked to human influence such as island building but many are affected to some degree by human population growth and pollution.”
The series features 120 images from around the world, and scale of the changes that can actually be seen in the images today, from how they were just 30 years ago is almost unfathomable in some cases. And some of the images are pretty startling on their own.
This one of an early ice melt in Greenland is one that stands well on its own. According to NASA, “Meltwater streams, rivers and lakes form in the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet every spring or early summer, but melting began exceptionally early in 2016. Melting encourages further melting when ponds of meltwater develop, since they darken the surface and absorb more sunlight than ice does. Surface melt contributes to sea-level rise when the water runs off into the ocean and when it flows through crevasses to the base of a glacier and temporarily speeds up the ice flow.”
Check NASA’s great interactive website that hosts the rest of this cool collection of Earth images.
Images via NASA