Tibetan Plateau rivers & Mountains, 1984-2016 (credit: Timelapse & Landsat-8/Copernicus satellites)
Being able to view an environment over time with re-photography offers an excellent perspective on undertanding changes that unfold slowly. Google has used Landsat and other satellite imagery, combined them into a time animation, to show how locations on Earth have changed over multiple years.
Satellite images were taken over the same location and then combined into a 32-year time-line. The visualizations were produced by Timelapse, a Google-Earth project. The program manager, Chris Herwig, said in a Google post that his team reviewed more than 5,000,000 satellite images gathered by NASA, the ESA, USGS, and other research agencies over 32 years:
“For this latest Timelapse update, we had access to more images from the past, thanks to the Landsat Global Archive, and fresh images from two new (Earth-monitoring) satellites, Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2.”
Tools such re-photograpy and Timelapse are critical 'facts-based' components of environmental research. The visualizations provide understanding, often better than words can express, to events now rapidly unfolding globally from climate change.