What’s Going On Here?

Nasa has released a new collection of satellite pictures in the stunning ‘Images of Change’ project. The interactive gallery presents before and after shots of areas hit by extreme weather events and natural phenomenon.

What Does This Mean?

The new images capture impacts from the climate crisis such as flooding, wildfires and droughts in recent years.

See the Mekong river changing from its usual brown due to suspended sediments, to a brighter blue when a lengthy drought left the river shallower, slower and carrying less sediment in 2020.

Record levels of meltwater pools spanning 140km on the surface of Antarctica’s George VI Ice Shelf show in this pair of images (2018 vs 2020).

Satellites documented double devastation in New South Wales, Australia in February 2020. This comparison of 25 January 2020 vs 10 February 2020 tells the story of the wildfires (the scars are the dark area on the left of both images) and the subsequent flooding of farmland when storms swamped the parched ground in February 2020.

Why Should I Care?

A picture speaks a thousand words.

We can rattle off statistics about the climate crisis, but sometimes what we really need is to see it in front of our eyes. Particularly those regions and people that are experiencing the impacts right now. Visualising these changes helps us:

  • Understand the immediate impact of climate related extreme weather events
  • Communicate environmental stories using a timeline of images
  • Track longer term impacts of the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.

There are 100s of images in the Nasa gallery and they’re not all climate crisis related. Think volcanic eruptions blanketing the ground in debris and lakes mysteriously changing colour to pink! However, the image that got the biggest ‘WOW’ from me was the change in night time lights surrounding Wuhan, China during a regional lockdown early last year. The highways just disappear!

Be Curious

– Why not have a play yourself – explore the map of images and use the slider to see the stunning changes before and after events. Click here

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