NASA satellites continually monitor the Earth, snapping photos and sending information to researchers on the ground.
Most of the time, things seem to be more or less the same as they were the day before, but the Earth is actually constantly changing. Sometimes it changes through discrete events, like landslides and floods. Other times, long-term trends, such as climate change, slowly reshape the land in ways that are difficult to see.
By zooming way out, we can get a new perspective of the events that have changed the Earth. These 10 before-and-after photos show the disasters, trends, and changes that have affected our planet, as seen from space.
1. In May 2016, NASA’s satellites picked up the devastating 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.
In May 2016, a wildfire broke out near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. It destroyed more than 2,400 homes and businesses and burned through roughly 1,500,000 acres of land before it was under control. (Some of the pictures use false-color imaging to distinguish between land types, by the way).
2. The satellites also captured how landscapes eventually recover from fires, like in Yellowstone.
In 1988, wildfires burned through over a third of Yellowstone National Park. 28 years later, images show that much of the forest and plains have returned.
3. They saw drought shrink Utah’s Great Salt Lake over the last 30 years…
Persistent drought has shrunk water supplies throughout much of the West. Scientists now think this may be linked to climate change.
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