If you hadn’t cottoned on to the idea that the planet might be in trouble, you now can see for yourself on Google Earth. If you click on the link, you’ll land on a project by Google and the British government aimed at showing you and millions of internet users what the planet will look like if future predictions about melting ice caps come true.
The project is aptly called Climate Change in Our World, and adds two ‚Äòlayers’, or animations to your Google Earth program. It was unveiled officially only a few days ago by the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Google Zeitgeist UK conference. Brown heralded the tool as a valuable contribution by the IT industry to the global economy. “I think this will be a huge tool for making everybody aware of the huge climate changes of our time,” he said.
Climate Change In Our World pulls in data by Met Office Hadley Centre and the British Antarctic Survey (both UK government organizations), predicting climate conditions over the next 50 years. You’ll see what the loss of Antarctic ice shelves looks like; an uncannily pretty sight if you happen to like the color blue. The animation based on data from the Met Office shows world temperatures throughout the next hundred years, taking into account mild forecasts for greenhouse gas emissions. A second animation is developed by the British Antarctic Survey and shows the retreat of Antarctic ice caps since the 1950s.
You’ll also be able to see how people in the UK and in some of the world’s poorest countries already are being affected by changing weather patterns. What’s possibly the best thing about the entire project is that users get access to information on how they can take action, both for individuals, communities, businesses and governments.
The project’s creators communicated that what has been released to the public thus far is only a snapshot and that they are looking to develop the ideas further in the future, preferably with additional partners, so contact them with your feedback on the content of the project, ideas for future animations or impact stories: ourworld at defra dot gsi dot gov dot uk.