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Google Earth's New Timelapse Feature Shows 37 Years of Global Change

You can watch the environment's decline over time.

Google Earth 3D Timelapse
Courtesy of Google

For 15 years, Google Earth has transported users to faraway lands and helped them virtually experience places they may otherwise never see. Now, Google has incorporated a new feature into the popular 3D globe called Timelapse in Google Earth that shows how the planet has evolved over nearly four decades.

The Timelapse feature was created by compiling 24 million satellite photos that date back 37 years—to 1984. Once you're on the Timelapse page, you can search anywhere you'd like to see a timelapse for and watch it develop. Google has also uploaded more than 800 timelapse video files you can sift through if you're not sure where to start.

On one hand, Timelapse in Google Earth is a fun way to watch the places you love blossom, but it's also a tool that shows the devastating decline of our planet's natural resources. Over time, especially in the past two decades, you'll see ice melting, bodies of water shrinking, and green space disappearing. If you didn't understand the impact of climate change before, you certainly will now.

Whether you use Timelapse for scientific purposes or just as an intriguing pastime, Google doesn't care, but considering it's the largest video of our planet in existence, it's worth looking into.

MORE: Google Earth Has Virtual Tours of Several National Parks in the U.S.

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.
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