Climate change rarely transforms an environment overnight. By the time ice shelves disappear, ocean waves creep onto main streets, and forests shrivel, the forces of climate change have been at work for decades.
Fortunately, NASA is tracking these environmental changes with satellites so that the public knows the full scale of transformations taking place. From one month to the next, an environmental change might seem slight, but when you zoom out to the level of years and decades, the combined shifts paint a devastating portrait. Of course, there are also sudden, dramatic events like flash floods that overwhelm a region overnight. But these, too, are the result of weather patterns that have morphed over decades.
Here are seven transformations that NASA has captured.
Melting Arctic Ice
Fire Damage in Yellowstone National Park
October 10, 1987
June 17, 2016
Early Ice Melt in Greenland
June 10, 2014
June 15, 2016
Sea-Ice Breakup in Beaufort Sea, Arctic
April 13, 2015
April 15, 2016
Coal Mine Growth in Powder River Basin, Wyoming
June 29, 1984
June 21, 2016
Flooding in Yangtze River Basin, China
March 27, 2016
July 28, 2016
Flooding on the Ganges River, India
August 10, 2015
August 15, 2016