By Claire

Google (in conjunction with NASA and the USGS) has just released a series of timelapse movies, showing the changes occurring to the surface of our planet since the 1970s.

These videos use images taken by the LandSat satellite over the last 40 years to stitch together the best quality images for key regions around the world, providing a time lapse view of the changes occurring over this time.

Google undertook the mammoth task of sifting through the millions of images taken by Landsat over this time, in order to produce high quality videos, free of clouds and blemishes (wherever possible) allowing a clear view of changes occurring at the surface.

The video below explains the methods used to produce these incredible images, as highlights some of the key regions that have been focussed on.

These images and videos were released in an article put together by TIME Magazine, that highlights the key “stories” of these media.

There are images of “extreme resources“, which show the impacts of mining and resource extraction on the surface of the Earth.

There are images of climate change, showing rapidly retreating glaciers and reduced snow cover at the Columbia Glacier and Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska.

There are images of “Urban Expansion” showing the rapid growth of Shanghai, Dubai and Las Vegas over the last 30-odd years. Notice particularly the variability of the lake that supplies the water to Las Vegas. You can see the fluctuations between higher and lower lake levels, but underlying this variability, you’ll also notice a general drying trend.

You can see the full story on the TIMES website. I encourage you to check it out.