Timelapse project shows how Earth has changed over 28 years

By Nir Kenner on May 9, 2013, 12:15 PM
google, time, nasa, maps, earth, timelapse, usgs

Google has unveiled a new projected dubbed Timelapse that builds on top of its mapping service to help you visualize geographical changes in the Earth over the course of the last 28 years. The project itself comes as the result of a collaboration with NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS), who have been gathering high resolution satellite images of the Earth for more than 40 years. 

With such a massive archive of imagery collected over the years, organizing and cleaning up everything was no easy task, and that's where Google came in. Using its Google Earth Engine technology, the company sifted through more than 2 million images, which are part of the single longest-running Earth-observing satellite program in existence. Now, through a partnership with Time, they are being presented in timelapse format along with write-ups highlighting several areas of the world for additional context.

Among the locations available for viewing you can find Dubai's artificial Palm Islands, the melting of Alaska's Columbia Glacier, and the the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

Google says it went through 909 terabytes of data to find the clearest images of Earth taken every year between 1984 and 2012, ending up with a whopping 1.78 terapixel image for each year. Google later worked with CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University to convert them into easily viewable HTML5 animations.




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2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

This looks pretty cool, but I'm really not in the mood for a huge global warming debate.

JC713 JC713 said:

WOW! Phenomenal.

yRaz yRaz said:

This looks pretty cool, but I'm really not in the mood for a huge global warming debate.

then don't join in...

WOW! Phenomenal.

the difference between 1997 and 2006 is jaw dropping. I'm just surprised google was able to put this data together and make those huge images. Guess you should never bet against google.

JC713 JC713 said:

then don't join in...

the difference between 1997 and 2006 is jaw dropping. I'm just surprised google was able to put this data together and make those huge images. Guess you should never bet against google.

Yeah man! Google can get it right sometimes lol.

MilwaukeeMike said:

the difference between 1997 and 2006 is jaw dropping. I'm just surprised google was able to put this data together and make those huge images. Guess you should never bet against google.

Google is great at doing something when they put their mind to it. They've stated their goal is to make something 10 times better than it is today. It's why Gmail started out with like 10 times more storage than any other service and their self driving car is easily 10 times better than any other attempt at a self driving car.

I'm still waiting for them to do something useful though (besides the car... the car will be useful). Cool is great 'n all, but how about collecting data on traffic and figuring out a solution to that, or maybe some data or process based solution to medical costs increases.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

then don't join in...

I won't, but I hope you guys talk about Al Gore a little... he's always a good conversation starter.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

so the tens of thousands of scientists who have peer reviewed this are wrong? If it wasn't for political gain this wouldn't even be a debate.

I'm saying that it is very conceited of people to think that in the insignificant amount of time that man has been on the Earth, and the even more insignificant amount of time that man has been burning fossil fuels for energy, that man caused global warming. So if you're saying that tens of thousands of scientists have peer reviewed journals claiming that over the millions of years the Earth has been orbiting the Sun, we just happened to **** it all up in the last 150 years, then yes I'm saying they're wrong. Global warming is a natural cycle of the Earth, just as ice ages are.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

There are hundreds of studies out there that have concluded that man has caused this.

There are just as many, or more, claiming the exact opposite.

2 people like this | yRaz yRaz said:

There are hundreds of studies out there that have concluded that man has caused this.

There are just as many, or more, claiming the exact opposite.

no, there aren't. The science for those studies is sketchy at best and has been rejected by the scientific community. Feel free to cite one. They are usually funded by special interest groups who, well, have a special interest in being able to pollute as much as they like. That's like the chemical companies saying their pesticides arent responsible for killing all the bees.

Renewable resources and clean energy aren't as profitable as drilling for oil and natural gas. Keep in mind, the US is one of the only countries that hasn't accepted this as fact, but I'm sure that's because our education system is failing.

You want to talk about the earth having millions of years for this to happen and it happens over long periods of time. If that's true, why did what is shown in the image happen in just under 30 years?

JC713 JC713 said:

There are just as many, or more, claiming the exact opposite.

Those are government funded studies, and thus, bias.

1 person liked this | pmcardle said:

You want to talk about the earth having millions of years for this to happen and it happens over long periods of time. If that's true, why did what is shown in the image happen in just under 30 years?

Because they just started recording it! The term I.d.I.o.t. fits this one perfectly...

2 people like this | yRaz yRaz said:

You want to talk about the earth having millions of years for this to happen and it happens over long periods of time. If that's true, why did what is shown in the image happen in just under 30 years?

Because they just started recording it! The term I.d.I.o.t. fits this one perfectly...

obviously you haven't heard about the ice cores we've drilled. We can tell how old the ice is and how long its been there. When ice that has been there for thousands of years melts in 30 you'd be a fool to not think something was up. But you can go on ignoring the facts like the rest of the US

1 person liked this | pmcardle said:

As a matter of fact, I'm very familiar with ice core drillings and scientific studies that the ice shows the earth has been going through warming a cooling cycle for millions of years, not just the last thirty. Let me add to my previous post... "liberal I.D.I.O.T"

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Those are government funded studies, and thus, bias.

How many green energy companies has our government invested in that have failed miserably? The EPA has been shoving fluorescent bulbs down our throats, and funding the heavily biased studies that claim we did this to the planet by breathing too much, and you're claiming the other side of the fence is biased? The government is so wrapped around the environmentalist's little fingers it isn't even funny.

no, there aren't. The science for those studies is sketchy at best and has been rejected by the scientific community. Feel free to cite one. They are usually funded by special interest groups who, well, have a special interest in being able to pollute as much as they like. That's like the chemical companies saying their pesticides arent responsible for killing all the bees.

Renewable resources and clean energy aren't as profitable as drilling for oil and natural gas. Keep in mind, the US is one of the only countries that hasn't accepted this as fact, but I'm sure that's because our education system is failing.

You want to talk about the earth having millions of years for this to happen and it happens over long periods of time. If that's true, why did what is shown in the image happen in just under 30 years?

And I suppose the studies claiming that global warming was all man made weren't funded by special interest groups (*cough cough* Al Gore) who were trying to get rich off of people with electric cars, fluorescent/led light bulbs that cost 10 times more than incandescent bulbs, cap and trade, etc?

[link]

[link]

[link]

1 person liked this | yRaz yRaz said:

As a matter of fact, I'm very familiar with ice core drillings and scientific studies that the ice shows the earth has been going through warming a cooling cycle for millions of years, not just the last thirty. Let me add to my previous post... "liberal I.D.I.O.T"

The natural cycle happens over millions of years, not over a few decades. This is not a natural part of the cycle. The planet isn't suppose to warm 2 degrees Celsius over 100 years. That rise in temperature seemed to start just a few decades after the steel industry started to boom. That trend has seemed to accelerate since. It makes me mad that people like you are ruining the world for my kids. I'll be dead before we start to see the real impact, but they won't.

it's too bad most peoples only education in science is a high school chemistry class.

Guest said:

Yes, there are lots of opposing views on this. The problem with global warming is that people get rich off of it so much that it makes it hard to believe that there is any gain whatsoever in opposing it. All of the political and financial gain is actually in the problem, and not the solution. Opposing it does not make you rich, ranting about the fervor does.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It makes me mad that people like you are ruining the world for my kids. I'll be dead before we start to see the real impact, but they won't.

it's too bad most peoples only education in science is a high school chemistry class.

Pfffft. More alarmist liberal BS. There is clearly no way we're going to agree on this, but you seem to be pretty damned one sided in your thinking as well, not to mention downright mean.

1 person liked this | yRaz yRaz said:

It makes me mad that people like you are ruining the world for my kids. I'll be dead before we start to see the real impact, but they won't.

it's too bad most peoples only education in science is a high school chemistry class.

Pfffft. More alarmist liberal BS. There is clearly no way we're going to agree on this, but you seem to be pretty damned one sided in your thinking as well, not to mention downright mean.

I like how you have to resort to name calling instead of presenting evidence that explains why I'm wrong.

JC713 JC713 said:

Ignorance is bliss. It is unfortunate.

yRaz yRaz said:

And I suppose the studies claiming that global warming was all man made weren't funded by special interest groups (*cough cough* Al Gore) who were trying to get rich off of people with electric cars, fluorescent/led light bulbs that cost 10 times more than incandescent bulbs, cap and trade, etc?

[link]

[link]

[link]

those bulbs cost less in the long run. Please, tell me that you don't want a lower electric bill. So far, I have never had to change one of those bulbs and I've been using them for about 6 years as well as reducing my electric bill by about $20/month We only have about another 100 years left of fossil fuels. If the rate at which we use them keeps increasing then that could happen even sooner. If we aren't ready for the inevitable it would mean global collapse. There is more to green energy than cap and trade and "liberal idio.ts".

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I like how you have to resort to name calling instead of presenting evidence that explains why I'm wrong.

I'm the one resorting to name calling? You need to reread what you wrote dude. I called you a liberal, which you most certainly are. I didn't tell you that you were responsible for destroying the planet for the next generation, and insult your education.

You are the typical Fox news watching type of guy that other countries point at and make fun of when they talk about the US. Pick up a book. Turn your NASCAR off for 5 minutes, left your wife recover from her black eye, and do some research.

Or continue being a ***** in your right wing bubble.

Just so you know, I don't watch Fox, or any other MSM. I DO read, plenty actually. Probably more than most people who tell people they need to pick up a book. I form my own opinions about pretty much everything, and I can't stand our elected democrats or republicans that don't stand for jack sh*t any more. I'm sick of paying for somebody else's food stamps to buy liquor, cigarettes, lobster, and filet mignon when they're walking around with $300 shoes, and $180 blue jeans, and I work my ass off to pay my bills, AND theirs all while not taking a single penny from the government. I've never hit a woman in my life, and there isn't a damn thing wrong with Nascar, golf, baseball, football, or any other sport you might be interested in. You must be really lonely on that giant pedestal of yours.

JC713 JC713 said:

I agree with you 100% Wendig0, that can get frustrating. But look at it as charity. As for being a liberal, there is nothing wrong with that. We disagree. That is fine! But dont let this develop into a further flame war. I agree with yRaz and Wendig0 (some points :P).

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Australia looks pretty much the same! I see a small change in the hue of the desert, but it's very minimal and could be a photo flaw.

Since humans are definitely outnumbered by the sheer land mass, it seems Australians haven't had a big visual impact on the country.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

How much time and money has been spent on equipment used to monitor global warming between the year 1700 and 1983, compared to the last 30 years?

3 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Just putting it out there, but if you think this was caused by man, you're an I.d.I.o.t. That is all.

Also, whoever put I.d.I.o.t. on the language filter, there is no way to sugarcoat it, you need to grow a pair and htfu.

You are the typical Fox news watching type of guy that other countries point at and make fun of when they talk about the US. Pick up a book. Turn your NASCAR off for 5 minutes, left your wife recover from her black eye, and do some research.

Or continue being a ***** in your right wing bubble.

By your ridicule of a conservative, I'm guessing you're a liberal. And your avatar pic looks like it's promoting equality. Liberals promote equality after so that makes sense. But then there's your words... full of prejudice and hate. Don't forget acceptance includes accepting other people's opinions and ideas too.

I brought up Al Gore before because he's the reason this argument exists. Before Al Gore climate change was generally accepted. But because Al Gore was an undisputed democrat, his words are automatically disputed by conservatives (just like your average liberal doesn't even believe the weather report from Fox). Al Gore promoting climate change actually caused the number of people who believe in it to go DOWN. He actually hurt the cause.

Now Al Gore either believes in climate change, or he doesn't. If he does, he's a terrible hypocrite because he's worth around $200 million, much of that from his sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera for $70 million. You know, that one based in the middle east... where all the oil comes from and the terrorism is funded. He's got a huge house on a zinc mine that has numerous times been cited for environmental issues, and he's getting a cut of their revenue because they're using his land. He's making a ton of money getting people to turn climate change into a partisan issue.

Or maybe he doesn't believe in climate change... in which case, he's made suckers out of everyone who does and he's laughing all the way to the bank.

So whichever science you choose to believe, let's all agree that Al Gore $uck$. You can read about Irene Sendler on your own. (http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/sendler.asp)

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

I'm sick of paying for somebody else's food stamps to buy liquor, cigarettes, lobster, and filet mignon when they're walking around with $300 shoes, and $180 blue jeans, and I work my *** off to pay my bills, AND theirs all while not taking a single penny from the government.

I can use food stamps to eat at fine dining restaurants and fill my closet with $180 jeans?!

Sign me the **** up!

1 person liked this | Guest said:

@ yRaz you are vain to think that mankind has any power over nature this large in scale. Its the same vanity that makes people believe that humans were created in Gods image :)

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can use food stamps to eat at fine dining restaurants and fill my closet with $180 jeans?!

Sign me the **** up!

I don't know about using them at fine dining restaurants, but you can buy steak and lobster at grocery stores with food stamps. As for the $180 jeans/$300 shoes part of my comment, I've personally seen people in front of me at my grocery store wearing extremely expensive clothing (Diesel, Gucci, Lucky Brand, Lebron James Nikes), or carrying a $1700 Prada purse, and pay with their EBT card. No exaggeration. My point was there are too many undeserving people on welfare and food stamps, that should be charged with defrauding the government (yet I won't hold my breath on that happening).

*Edit* If they want to go to a fine dining restaurant, I know they can pull money off their EBT card at any ATM here. So I suppose they can buy clothing with it too. /edit

2 people like this | Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

This is one of those articles where the comments section takes on a life of its own and becomes more entertaining than the article itself. That being said I hope we can all move forward with some decorum and try not to overload the language filter.

You are the typical Fox news watching type of guy that other countries point at and make fun of when they talk about the US. Pick up a book. Turn your NASCAR off for 5 minutes, left your wife recover from her black eye, and do some research.

Or continue being a ***** in your right wing bubble.

You sir, have won the stereotyper-of-the-year award. I wish I could say it's an honor, but unfortunately, it's not.

yRaz yRaz said:

@ yRaz you are vain to think that mankind has any power over nature this large in scale. Its the same vanity that makes people believe that humans were created in Gods image

I don't think you understand how much we pollute and the cumulative affect of that pollution.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Damn vegas moves fast lol

Wow, I thought we were going to talk about global warming and it turns to politics.It's like I'm on yahoo articles or something >_>

JC713 JC713 said:

Wow. You guys are seriously sad. Fighting over being a liberal or not! You guys are acting like children (with the knowledge of politics lol). yRaz and Regretful are standing their ground. Wendig0, Milwaukee, etc. are holding their ground also. This will never let up.

I will leave all of you guys with this quote: "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."- Nelson Mandela.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

I knew the moment this article was posted that it would devolve into another environmentalist/political jihad (or crusade, if you prefer) over who has the more powerful, more righteous science on their side.

That being said, someone roll a d20 to buff someone's scientific data and end the debate so we can get back to something more interesting, like the project the article was covering.

Regretful Regretful said:

First things first. My avatar is a guy next to a fat chick.

I'm pro hunting animals for meat, anti-welfare/section 8 housing, and pro clean/renewable energy.

You guys keep talking about Al Gore. I don't think a single person in this thread used his work as a source. There are countless studies that look at the measurements of greenhouse gases and the affect that they have on the atmosphere. Also - yes I am fully aware that this planet has changed climates several times before humans were thrown into the mix. But we are adding millions of tons of carbons dioxide.

So when I see someone dismissing studies that NASA brings to the table, I automatically think that they're another Fox news redneck who reposts anti Obama memes on their Facebook page.

3 people like this | NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Quick someone bring up the next apple device to distract everyone so we can go bash on it and it's users instead.

JC713 JC713 said:

I really want to repost my previous post so that people will see it on this page! lol :eek:

mailpup mailpup said:

I think we've had enough personal comments and name calling in this thread. Any more will disappear into the ether.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

By the way, food stamps roll over when you don't use them all in a month, so people probably save them up. Like I said earlier, you can use them at the ATM. If you want to leech off your government in Canada, fine by me. My taxes won't go to pay for it up there.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

If you want to leech off your government in Canada, fine by me. My taxes won't go to pay for it up there.

You thought I was serious?... That's sad.

1 person liked this | TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

People don't like change. But the Earth is in a constant state of change. For 500 years up to the 1800's Europe and other parts of the world had to deal with a little ice age. I find that far more frightening than some melting glaciers. Warmer periods in history have always resulted in economic booms. Frankly I find the fear mongering in the media far more troublesome.

1 person liked this | NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

We all know we're going to perish. Aliens are going to attack us because we're ruining the earth's resources.

Guest said:

Interesting! ..but I think the comments are more entertaining than the article itself :D

alright guys, please stop flaming wars..

DAOWAce DAOWAce said:

That glacier retreat timelapse should be proof enough that global warming is a real threat.

Sadly, I doubt corporations will give a damn unless they're threatened by governments or suffer heavy profit losses. Money in their lifetime > earth lasting more than a few more centuries. (by that I mean without drastic change, habitat destruction, etc. Earth will live long after life expires)

We'll continue fighting them regardless of anything though.. *sigh*

JC713 JC713 said:

By the way, food stamps roll over when you don't use them all in a month, so people probably save them up. Like I said earlier, you can use them at the ATM. If you want to leech off your government in Canada, fine by me. My taxes won't go to pay for it up there.

Your arguments are quite fallacious.

vr5ken said:

We the humans of Earth are like a virus on the planet! Why can't we ever just put some limits on what we do to the planet?? We will not be satisfied until we disrupt the entire eco-system which will cause our own demise!! But cool pictures anyway!!

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I'm saying that it is very conceited of people to think that in the insignificant amount of time that man has been on the Earth, and the even more insignificant amount of time that man has been burning fossil fuels for energy, that man caused global warming. So if you're saying that tens of thousands of scientists have peer reviewed journals claiming that over the millions of years the Earth has been orbiting the Sun, we just happened to **** it all up in the last 150 years, then yes I'm saying they're wrong. Global warming is a natural cycle of the Earth, just as ice ages are.

Could not have said it better myself. To suggest that man is responsible for such a change to the globe is narcissism at its finest. In a world were man cant figure out of carbs are bad for you or not, its ridiculous to think we know every detail of whats going on globally. Am I saying global warming is not happening? No, im saying global warming by man is sketchy at best. Funny how history shows us that there were numerous mini ice ages throughout history(think Bering strait) due to normal climate change. But now that we can monitor it, it is due to man. Im not buying it. If you want to believe everything TV or some "scientist" you dont know or have even heard of says, well then I guess thats your choice.

Tygerstrike said:

The sad part in this discussion is that on both sides of the argument, each side demands that the other side admit its all their fault. Well I got some news for you little 3yr olds. Its not one or the other, its a little of both. Yes the planet DOES go through hot and cold cycles. This has been proven time and time again. Kinda why we havent found ice thats older then a certain time period. But Mankind also has their part in it. Yes there is a cumulative effect when dealing with greenhouse gases. Mankind has "sped up" the warming cycle thats all.

Maybe instead of trying to assign blame that energy could be used to help solve the problem. Instead of flaming someone you disagree with you could go recycle a can. Or start a green energy campaign in your area. Try to be part of the solution instead of sitting around doing nothing.

2 people like this | red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

As a matter of fact, I'm very familiar with ice core drillings and scientific studies that the ice shows the earth has been going through warming a cooling cycle for millions of years, not just the last thirty. Let me add to my previous post... "liberal I.D.I.O.T"

The natural cycle happens over millions of years, not over a few decades. This is not a natural part of the cycle. The planet isn't suppose to warm 2 degrees Celsius over 100 years. That rise in temperature seemed to start just a few decades after the steel industry started to boom. That trend has seemed to accelerate since. It makes me mad that people like you are ruining the world for my kids. I'll be dead before we start to see the real impact, but they won't.

it's too bad most peoples only education in science is a high school chemistry class.

Are you serious? you can't be.

The Earth is what, 4.5 Billion years old and you have the the audacity to say with a straight face that with only about 100 years of climatological records in hand that you can see a trend?...an "unnatural trend"? a man made trend?

And you and those of your ilk can perform this amazing feat of future peering discernment with partial climate records for a grand total of 0.000002666666666666667% of the incomplete temperature records of the Earth. I am going to turn the 'homework' part of it around on you. See how many of the long term people, scientists, and activists, etc that are now screaming "global warming is here" are the very same names that were screaming "warming Cooling" in the 70's

http://www.denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm

[link]

I have news for you. people like me are not ruining it for your kids. Popeple like you are trying to ruin it for my kids by turning them into non thinking clones who blindly and willingly swallow political BS by the heaping spoonful. The idea that you and your like minded brethren can discern that there is an "unnatural man made climate change happening" falls apart with the tiniest bit of introspection.

To think that it can be forecast with anything approaching accurate or reliable from the infinitesimal amount of Data that is had about the Earths temperatures and climate that is known is preposterous. You appear as such a skeptic in your posts I wonder why it has not crossed your mind who would benefit from from there being global warming? those who receive grants and have jobs based on there being global warming possibly? and would not have a job or receive all that grant money if there wasn't?

I remember Ted Danson pontificating that in twenty years the "Earth would be uninhabitable". He said It 23 years ago.

Any of what you say on the subject is not actionable anyway until you can answer the first, and most basic question.

If you are going to tell me it's too warm today. then you must know what the temperature is supposed to be.

So 4.5 Billion into the Earths evolution...whats the temperature supposed to be?

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