The effects of climate change, and those of our own human activities on the Earth, can be hard to relate to if they aren't in our own backyard. But as they say, seeing is believing, and a new iPad app from NASA brings those changes to life.
The Images of Changes app features some of the best pairs of images from NASA's Global Climate Change website, and allows users to compare before and after pictures of locations that have experienced serious changes in our lifetime.
"Images of Change gives users an astronaut's or Earth explorer's view of the changes occurring on our planet and demonstrates the important role NASA plays in contributing to the long-term understanding of Earth. By utilizing ground-based and space-based observation systems, we are able to better understand how humans are contributing to a changing world." - John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science in Washington
The images can be viewed one at a time, or compared side-by-side, or even overlaid with a slider that displays a past-to-present view to easier see the changes that have taken place at those locations. Each set of images includes a map with the location, as well as some background information, and could be a potent visual tool for education and activism.
"Natural disasters, a warming climate, and human activities are rapidly altering the face of our planet. NASA’s Images of Change app lets you take a close-up view of many of these changes in an exciting and hands-on format. The app presents a curated collection of the best image pairs from NASA’s Global Climate Change website. These image pairs show areas that have been subject to natural disasters or seen significant change over time. Compare Alaska’s Muir Glacier in 1941 to the glacier as it looked in 2004. Take a before-and-after look at flooding in the Missouri River or at wildfires in Colorado. See the expansion of agriculture in Saudi Arabia as viewed from satellites."
The Images of Change app is free at the App Store, and it's said that the images will be constantly updated, in order to continue to deliver "an informative, compelling, and up-to-date visual experience" of the changing face of the Earth.