Just as plants are regarded as living organisms, so is it with Planet Earth. The Earth too in a manner of speaking can be considered a living evolving organism. Throughout the centuries, the earth has undergone several changes. If the majority of such changes on the earth’s surface may have taken place millions of years ago, there are still quite a few that have unfolded in our lifetime or over the last century. Take a look how our planet is changing its appearance.
The following photographs are a collection of remarkable NASA photographs depicting the dramatic changes in the earth’s landscapes over the last century.
Expansion of Las Vegas
Las Vegas has grown considerably large within just 12 years. The first picture shows how population has impacted the resources of Lake Mead which supplies most of the water to South Nevada. Between the years 1984 to 2007, there is a drastic drop in the level of the lake. The image on the left shows the terrain in 1984 and the one on the right is of 2007.
Colorado River and Mexico 1985-2007
In just a span of 12 years, the flow of the Colorado River has drastically reduced. The 1985 image was taken during a massive flood in the area while the second image of 2007 has been taken during drought. Rains play a major role in the upkeep of water levels in the Colorado basin.
Melting glacier in the Himalayas
The marked changes are everywhere as you can see in the degradation of this glacier in the Himalayas. In the Image on the left taken in 1956, the lake is fairly small suggesting the health of the glacier .The colored image on the right was taken on October 18 2007 and shows how the lake has enlarged to a huge extent proving that the glacier is eroding fast.
Urban expansion Egypt 1987-2014
Between 1987-2014, Egypt’s population increased from 6 million to 15 million people. Urbanisation has encroached onto desert lands fed by the Nile.
Decline of Central Peru glacier
Glacial changes are the easiest proof of how our planet is changing. As part of the world’s largest tropical ice cap, this glacier in Central Peru spanned an entire plateau located at a height of 5,691 metres above sea level. Even till 1978, the glacier was observed to be expanding but in 2005 a major receding of the glacier was observed that left behind a lake almost 60 metres deep.
Yacyreta-Apipe dam, Paraguay
The images show the sad comparison of the decline of the environment in Paraguay. The images on the left show the river segment before construction of the Yacyreta dam which was a joint venture between Argentina and Paraguay. Since completion in 1994, river levels have risen flooding the entire surrounding area. What used to be home to wildlife such as jaguars, giant otters, anteaters and 650 species of birds is now underwater. The earlier photo depicts the area in 1985. The second was taken on June 7, 2010.
Yosemite National Park glacier (1883 — 2015)
The Lyell glacier is the second largest in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Between 1833 and 2015 it has lost almost 80% of its surface area where 10% of its surface area decreased from 2011 till date. Weather experts attribute the glaciers decline to climactic changes.
Flooding in Cambodia 2013
Typhoon Nari struck Cambodia in October 2013 causing heavy rains and flooding along the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. 1.5 million People were displaced and 300,000 hectares of rice fields were destroyed. Phonm Penh the capital city falls in the center of the images which were taken on May 17, 2013 and October 24, 2013.
Degrading of Alaska glaciers 1941-2004
The images depict the reduction in surface area of these Alaska glaciers over 50 years from 1941 to 2004.
Drying up of Lake Urmia, Iran
By far the worst example of how our planet is changing is the drying up of Lake Urmia in Iran. Lake Urmia at one time was the largest saltwater lake in the Middle East and the world’s third largest lake. Dam constructions, excessive use of underground water and droughts have shrunk the lake to more than 60 % of its original size.
Because of the excessive salinity, the fish and bird life have disappeared from the lake. The lake is expected to dry up completely.these comparison images were taken in 1985 and 2010.