New technology to help fight global warming
Twenty-four million satellite images collected in 37 years, quadrillion pixels, over two million hours of processing on thousands of machines and the result was a single 4.4 terapixel video mosaic on Google Earth.
From creating a 3D (3 dimensional) replica of the world to an interactive 4D experience, Google Earth has come a long way in meeting everyone’s exploration needs.
A 3D image has x, y and z axes – length, width and height. With the addition of the time element, 3D turns into 4D.
“In the biggest update to Google Earth since 2017, you can now see our planet in a whole new dimension: time. Now anyone can watch the weather unfold and witness nearly four decades of planetary change, ”said Rebecca Moore, Director of Google Earth, Earth Engine and Outreach, following the official launch of the time-lapse video titled The timelapse in Google Earth.
“Our planet has experienced rapid environmental change over the past half century – more than at any time in human history. Many of us have experienced these changes in our own communities; I myself was one of the thousands of Californians evacuated from their homes in the state’s wildfires last year.
The Google Earth Timelapse gives an even clearer picture of the effects of climate change over time and the use of land and land cover to determine the impact of human activity on the environment over time .
“To other people, the effects of climate change seem abstract and distant like melting ice caps and retreating glaciers. With Timelapse in Google Earth, we have a clearer picture of our changing planet at our fingertips – an image that shows not only the problems but the solutions as well, as well as the incredibly beautiful natural phenomena that unfold over decades, ”said Ms. Moore said.
The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat program, the world’s first (and oldest) civilian Earth observation program, as well as the Copernicus program of the European Union with its Sentinel satellites, contributed to the images used to create the video.
“We worked with experts from the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University to develop the technology behind Timelapse, and we worked with them again to make sense of what we were seeing.