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Earth Day 2022: Google releases stark time-lapse pictures showing impact of climate crisis

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New time-lapse images released by Google to mark Earth Day have revealed the devastating impact of the climate crisis around the world.

Satellite pictures for the 2022 Earth Day Google doodle reveal melting glaciers, deforestation and coral bleaching in the past few decades.

Stark shots of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, between December 1986 and 2020 show glacial retreat at the summit.

Images taken each December annually from 1986 to 2020 show glacier retreat at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Google)
Images taken each December annually from 1986 to 2020 show glacier retreat at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (Google)

The melting of glaciers in Seremersooq, Greenland, can also be seen pictured in the two decades up until 2020.

Glacier retreat is the biggest cause of sea-level rise in recent decades and is the “most dramatic evidence” of global warming, according to climate.gov.

Timelapse pictures showing impact of climate change in Seremersooq, Greenland (Google)
Timelapse pictures showing impact of climate change in Seremersooq, Greenland (Google)

The doodle also features satellite images which show coral bleaching on Lizard Island, Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef went through its sixth mass bleaching event in March. Aerial surveys showed that no reefs across a 1,200km stretch escaped the heat.

According to WWF, scientists predict that we could lose over 90 per cent of our coral reefs by 2050 if we don’t act urgently to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Images taken each month from March to May 2016 show coral bleaching on Lizard Island, Australia (Google)
Images taken each month from March to May 2016 show coral bleaching on Lizard Island, Australia (Google)

Significant levels of deforestation can be seen in the last doodle featured on the search engine.

A timelapse of the declining trees in the Harz Forests in Elend, Germany between December 1995 to 2020 is shown, with Google writing that the forests have been “destroyed by bark beetle infestation due to rising temperatures and severe drought”.

Images taken each December annually from 1995 to 2020 show deforestation in the Harz Forests in Elend, Germany (Google)
Images taken each December annually from 1995 to 2020 show deforestation in the Harz Forests in Elend, Germany (Google)

According to Global Forest Watch, Harz suffered a 30 per cent decrease in tree cover since 2000.

This year, Earth Day - a global annual event intended to prompt discussion and action around environmental causes - comes after the release of the latest IPCC reports showing that the world is barrelling towards stronger, more frequent disasters fuelled by the climate crisis, with little time to reverse course.

Earth Day 2022 has a theme of “Invest in our Planet” with a focus on encouraging individuals, businesses and world leaders to invest and switch to greener technologies and practices.

Follow all the latest Earth Day updates on our live blog here.

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