Mapping Three Decades of Global Water Change
- Lakes in other parts of the world are growing.
- Much of the world’s water is in constant motion.
- Agriculture has an enormous influence, as farmers move water to cope with changing conditions.
- The images were processed in the cloud by 10,000 computers using Google’s Earth Engine platform, classifying each 100-foot by 100-foot pixel as water or land.
- The Paraíba do Sul River , Brazil
New research reveals how water has changed across the surface of the earth over the last 30 years.
@nytgraphics: Mapping three decades of changes to the world’s rivers, lakes and other water bodies:
The project, which is freely available, will allow researchers to improve climate models and find evidence of the effects of climate change around the world. But even the untrained eye can see the results of drought in the Western United States, for example, or of warming temperatures in the high country north of the Himalayas.
The project’s scope, as described in a paper published online Wednesday in the journal Nature, included the entire archive of three Landsat satellites from 1984 to 2015 — about three million high-resolution images, or nearly two quadrillion bytes (1.8 petabytes) of data. The images were processed in the cloud by 10,000 computers using Google’s Earth Engine platform, classifying each 100-foot by 100-foot pixel as water or land.