The Satellite Images That Show a Decade of Climate Change

Dec 31, 2019

By Brian Kahn

The 2010s will be remembered as the decade when we could no longer deny climate change.

I mean, it’s not like any rational person could deny it in the preceding decades, but the past 10 years have seen scientists’ predictions become reality. Our world has entered an unsteady state, one where the things previous generations took for granted—a frozen Arctic, less violent weather—are no more.

While the impacts of the climate crisis are clear to anyone living on Earth, satellites continue to offer the most striking view of the large-scale changes. Orbiting anywhere from about 400 to 500 miles above the Earth’s surface, satellites operated by NASA and the European Space Agency have revolutionized our understanding of the planet. They’ve provided fuel for groundbreaking discoveries about climate change from pole to pole. But you don’t have to have a PhD to look at the imagery being sent back to Earth and see the changes afoot.

With the help of Pierre Markuse, a satellite imagery expert who worked with Sentinel Hub, Earther took a look at a handful of the changes over the past decade that illuminates the ongoing climate crisis.

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