How the world changes by Sven Bachmann
Earth is constantly changing. Some changes are a natural part of the climate system, such as the seasonal expansion and contraction of the Arctic sea ice pack. The responsibility for other changes, such as the Antarctic ozone hole, falls squarely on humanity’s shoulders. Our World of Change series documents how our planet’s land, oceans, atmosphere, and Sun are changing over time. The state of Rondônia in western Brazil is one of the most deforested parts of the Amazon. This series shows deforestation on the frontier in the northwestern part of the state between 2000 and 2012. Based on data from the Landsat satellites, these natural-color images document the growth of the Hobet mine in Boone County, West Virginia, as it expands from ridge to ridge between 1984 and 2013. A massive irrigation project has devastated the Aral Sea over the past 50 years. These images show the decline of the Southern Aral Sea in the past decade, as well as the first steps of recovery in the Northern Aral Sea. The devastation of the May 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens and the gradual recovery of the surrounding landscape is documented in this series of satellite images from 1979—2013. Combined with human demands, a multi-year drought in the Upper Colorado River Basin caused a dramatic drop in the Colorado River’s Lake Powell in the early part of the 2000s. The lake began to recover in the latter part of the decade, but as of 2012, it was still well below capacity. Because of differences in geography and climate, Antarctica sea ice extent is larger than the Arctic’s in winter and smaller in summer. Since 1979, Antarctica’s sea ice has increased slightly, but year-to-year fluctuations are large. NASA satellites have monitored Arctic sea ice since 1978. Starting in 2002, they observed a sharp decline in sea ice extent. Prescribed fires should prevent blazes from raging out of control in one of Namibia’s most prized wildlife preserves. Not many...
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