These Satellite Timelapses Show Just How Much Our Planet Has Changed

Cities grow. Human settlements expand across lands — and even into the water. Some forests burn down and regrow while others are gradually depleted by logging. And, over the last few decades, satellites have captured it all, showing how Earth has changed in just a matter of years.


Growth of Phoenix, Arizona, between 1972 and 2011

The urbanization of Dubai, 2000-2011

Forest fires in Trinity County, California, between 1995 and 2011

Deforestation in the Amazon state of Rondonia, Brazil, between 1975 and 2009

The vanishing Arctic Ice Cap

The changes of Mt. Saint Helens between 1979 and 2011, due to volcanic activity

The growth of Singapore, 1984-2012

Gradual regeneration of Yellowstone National Park’s forests following the 1988 fire season. The video shows satellite images taken between 1987 and 2011.

Calving of an ice island from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier, and drifting down the fjord, captured between July 9 and September 13, 2012

Growth of Las Vegas, Nevada, between 1972 and 2010

The shrinking Amazon rainforest in Brazil, 2000-2011

The vanishing Lake Urmia in Iran, on satellites images taken between 1984 and 2012


The Iranian Bay

The shrinking of the Aral Sea, on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, 1984-2012


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James Ryan

Growth of Las Vegas, Nevada, between 1972 and 2010

Which is a double feature, as you can pay attention to the shrinking of Lake Meade going on on the right hand side of the shot, going on in concert with Vegas’ expansion