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Watch: Google and Nasa release amazing timelapse of how Planet Earth has changed over 30 years

Pan over the Amazon rainforest, and the human impact is seen in sharp relief. 

We all know the forest is disappearing at a rate of knots, but this shows the devastating loss of trees as the green fades to brown on our screens in such a short space of time.

Urban growth

Perhaps the starkest example of urban growth over the last 37 years is Dubai. Google Timelapse shows the desert take shape into an urban metropolis, and you can watch as the artificial beaches are created.

It is also strangely mesmerising to watch the housing sites and roads being built on the desert in Doha, Qatar, and view just how much humans have spread across the desert.

You can also look at the snaking Thames and how London has grown in density over the decades. Although it is less dramatic than watching a city be built from scratch, it is still interesting to see how London has changed.

Warming temperatures

Many parts of the world show the impact of a warming climate on Google Timelapse, but perhaps the best example is the Farmer Glacier in Antarctica. The video shows just how much the ice cap has melted, in real-time.

Another victim of warming temperatures are our lakes, rivers and oceans. This video shows inland tributaries of the sea in Kazakhstan drying up.

The ice caps can also be seen melting in quite a dramatic way at Cape Disappointment, in Antarctica. 

Renewable energy

Though it is accepted that we need to move away from fossil fuels to stop the environmental destruction shown above, it is interesting to see just how much impact on the landscape wind farms have.

This farm, in Kern County, California, was built in the last few decades, and the video shows the vastness of the project.

Mining

Another human impact on the planet is mining. Multiple videos on the Google Timelapse show how deeply we have drilled into Planet Earth, but this copper mine in Utah makes particularly dramatic viewing.

Using 20 million satellite photos from the past 37 years, Google Earth can now show viewers the world from the "fourth dimension" – time.

The work is focused on climate change, and the human impact on the world. Scientists at Nasa and Google guide the viewer through changes including forest change, urban growth, warming temperatures, sources of energy, and our world’s fragile beauty, in a set of timelapse videos.

The Timelapse project was made by Nasa, the United States Geological Survey’s Landsat program, the world’s first civilian Earth observation program, and the European Union’s Copernicus satellites.

A Google spokesman said: "Our planet has seen rapid environmental change in the past half-century – more than any other point in human history. Many of us have experienced these changes in our own communities; I myself was among the thousands of Californians evacuated from their homes during the state’s wildfires last year. For other people, the effects of climate change feel abstract and far away, like melting ice caps and receding glaciers. 

"With Timelapse in Google Earth, we have a clearer picture of our changing planet right at our fingertips — one that shows not just problems but also solutions, as well as mesmerizingly beautiful natural phenomena that unfold over decades."

Forest change

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