Google Earth has teamed up with the U.K. government to produce a new layer that shows vividly how the Earth will change this century due to global warming.
Over the course of the century, you can watch the earth heat up in an animation that ultimately leaves the Arctic nearly 20 degrees (C) warmer than in 1999. Most areas across the United States appear somewhere between 4 and 10 degrees warmer.
Specific predicted impacts are shown, such as extreme summer heat waves and choking air pollution in Northeastern cities, decreasing water supply in California and increasing wildfire risk across the West.
These projections represent a middle-path scenario. They assume that something is done to curtail emissions of greenhouse gases, but not as much as the scientific community and United Nations has said is necessary.
Climate change is redrawing the maps of the world. Its impacts will be felt everywhere, as sea levels rise, crops fail, extreme weather increases and more areas are at risk of drought and flooding," said U.K. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn. "This project shows people the reality of climate change using only moderate estimates both the change of the average temperature where they live, and the impacts it will have on peoples lives all over the world including here in Britain. Only by enabling people to understand what climate change means for them and for the world can we mobilize the action we need to avoid the worst effects of a changing climate."
Another new layer shows how Antarctica has changed in the last 50 years, as several ice shelves have been lost, but there has been thickening across the interior. Recent research suggests Antarctica is being shielded from warming by the deterioration of the ozone layer, which has effectively counteracted the greenhouse effect.
Add the Climate Change in Our World layer to Google Earth and start exploring the world our children will experience.
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