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April 24, 2018

This online tool shows how we, and our planet, are changing

By Gill Cassar

Anecdotal evidence of urban sprawl, renewable energy uptake, deforestation and bleached corals are all over our newsfeeds and social-media channels. Yet to date, demonstrating the drivers and consequences of planetary change on a global and local level simultaneously has been difficult to do.

That’s set to change with the launch of EarthTime. This online, open-source geospatial tool allows a user to zoom into any location on the planet and see changes to the surface of the Earth since 1984. By layering 300 geospatially tagged and peer-reviewed data sets over this satellite layer, the platform brings to life systems in transition through time, all the way up to the present moment.

In celebration of Earth Day, the Carnegie Mellon University, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, are launching a new website to make this data available to all. Now, it’s possible to explore expert analyses that connect humanity and the planet:

The rise and fall of forests
Explore some of the principle drivers of deforestation, and its impact on forests and efforts to protect the lungs of the planet.

Coral collapse
Examine how ocean warming is causing corals to bleach and die.

The renewable energy revolution
Watch how clean energy is expanding across the globe, from wind to solar PV and solar farms.

Rising seas
Watch how sea levels are predicted to rise as temperatures warm, and what this means for coastal cities.

RELATED: Energy efficiency to fight climate change: the vital role of ICTs

The retreat of glaciers
Contemplate the decline of glaciers, driven in part by climate change.

Fresh water on the move
Explore the growth and decline of rivers, lakes and other surface water.

View the interactive data sets here.

By Gill Cassar, Programme Lead, Environment and Sustainability, Global Leadership Fellow, World Economic Forum

The original version of this article first appeared on the World Economic Forum Agenda. Read the original here.

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This online tool shows how we, and our planet, are changing

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