Nightly News   |  May 09, 2013

View stunning changes to the Earth’s landscape

Google and Time magazine have stitched together satellite images collected by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, showcasing developments in our planet’s landscape via time-lapse. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> tonight we have a special and highly unusual view of our own planet from a team of scientists specializing in imaging who, along with journalists have given us a first of its kind view of how we have changed over the years. we get our preview tonight from nbc's rehema ellis.

>> reporter: as the world turns and time passes , the changes to our planet are dramatic. from melting glaciers to vanishing rain forests , to nonstop urban sprawl . all visible through millions of satellite images collected by nasa and the u.s. geological survey . google and time magazine partnered to put the time lapse images online.

>> we have seen satellite images of earth before. what makes this project so extraordinary?

>> we are looking at 29 years of images. from 1984 to 2012 . the clarity is breathtaking.

>> reporter: they include the rain forest of brazil, the green seen disappearing over time .

>> one area in the amazonian rain forest used to be about the size of nebraska. it has now lost 25,000 square miles or like losing west virginia .

>> reporter: in dubai in the middle east the population has grown from 300,000 in 1984 to more than 2 million today. not just building up the desert, but building out into the sea. these mushrooming polka-dots are irrigation systems , turning saudi arabia into a bred basket.

>>> in alaska the columbia glacier once rose over 10,000 feet above sea level . now only a small part of it is left. while there is much more of las vegas than there used to be the lake contracts. our world in stunning images over time as it's never been seen before. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york.