Millions of Google Earth users around the world will be able to see how climate change could affect the planet and its people over the next century, along with viewing the loss of Antarctic ice shelves over the last 50 years.
Climate Change in Our World, launched by UK prime minister Gordon Brown at the Google Zeitgeist conference, is the product of a collaboration between Google, the UK government, the Met Office Hadley Centre and the British Antarctic Survey. It provides two new ‘layers’, or animations, available to all users of Google Earth.
One animation uses leading climate science from the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre to show world temperatures throughout the next hundred years under medium projections of greenhouse gas emissions. It also shows stories of how people in the UK and in some of the world’s poorest countries are already being affected by changing weather patterns.
The animation contains information on action that can be taken by individuals, communities, businesses and governments to tackle climate change, and highlights good work already underway.
Another animation, developed by the British Antarctic Survey, shows the retreat of Antarctic ice caps since the 1950s, and features facts about climate change science and impacts in the Antarctic.
'Climate change is redrawing the map of the world. Unless we act, its impacts will be felt everywhere, as sea levels rise, crops fail, extreme weather increases and more areas are at risk of drought and flooding,' said environment secretary Hilary Benn.
'This project shows people the reality of climate change using estimates of both the change in the average temperature where they live, and the impact it will have on people’s lives all over the world, including here in Britain.'
So how do you get to see Climate Change in Our World? Once you click through to Google Earth, then download the application and then download the new layer - Climate Change In Our World - where you will see a movie of global temperature changes for the next 100 years.