Wired Science posted some interesting time lapse clips on changes of the Earth’s surface over a number of years (mostly between 1-3 decades). The changes are primarily based on population growth and global warming, which partly are inter-related of course.
The videos are based on NASA satellite images and they show the effects of urbanisation, deforestation, irrigation and drought. I’m posting a couple here – to see more and get additional background, go to Wired Science.
Sucking Out the Aral Sea
In the 1960s, central Asia’s Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake in the world. As a result of irrigation and damming, it had shriveled to 10 percent of its original size (marked by the thin black line) by 2007. It is now three separate, highly salinic, lakes.
Clearing the Amazon
Over the past three decades, the state of Rondônia in western Brazil cleared almost 35 percent of its rainforest. According to NASA’s website, the pattern of deforestation is common in the Amazon. People build roads, then clear some of the land for small farms. After a few years, the land erodes and becomes depleted. The farmers, suffering from low crop yields, convert the land for cattle, then clear more forest for crops, and so on until large cattle holders buy the land.
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- Deforestation of the Amazon from 2000-2008 (neatorama.com)
- NASA Photos: The Disappearance of the Aral Sea (neatorama.com)
- The Aral Sea Disappears: NASA Photos (ecofriendlymag.com)
- NASA Documents the Evaporation of the Aral Sea (2000-2009) (treehugger.com)