These Incredible NASA Images Show the Massive Changes Our Planet is Going Through

By Gizmodo Australia on at

NASA's "Images of Change" features a bunch of interactive before-and-after images of locations on our humble and incredible home planet, showing change over time periods ranging from centuries to days.

The changes shown in these images are from a range of reasons - climate change, urbanisation, fires and floods.

You can see all of the interactive images here, but here are a few from Australia:

 Sampson Flat Fire, Adelaide: August 29, 2014 - January 4, 2015

Image: NASA

The Sampson Flat Fire started on January 2, 2015 near Adelaide, Australia. Hot, windy weather quickly and erratically spread the fire. By January 7, it had burned more than 46 square miles (120 square kilometers) of woodland and grassland within the Mount Lofty Ranges.

In the January image, burned areas are brown and active fire appears red with white-blue smoke rising from it. As of January 9, the fire was contained, but firefighters continued to monitor unburned pockets of vegetation for flare-ups.

Images taken by the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery "Sampson Flat Fire, Australia," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Fire, Tasmania: February 3, 2012 - January 4, 2013

Image: NASA

Extremely hot, dry weather in southern Australia has led to a number of brush fires. In Tasmania more than 148,000 acres burned during the first half of January 2013. Losses reached $43 million and were predicted to exceed $100 million.

In the township of Dunalley, over 40 percent of the structures were destroyed. The 2012 image shows normal conditions; the 2013 image shows the burned areas and smoke rising from active fires in the upper right area.

Images taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Brush Fires in Tasmania," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.

Flood, Southern Australia: October 9, 2010 - December 12, 2010

Image: NASA

The worst flooding in decades affected an area in southern Australia the size of Germany and France combined, causing at least 10 deaths. It cut off 22 towns, affected over 200,000 people, closed 75 percent of the area's coalmines, devastated the country's wheat crop, and severely damaged housing and transport networks.

The October image shows conditions before the flooding. Green tones represent vegetation, much of it wheat crops. Blue and black tones show lakes and meandering rivers. In the December picture, taken during the flood, the lakes and rivers have expanded and lowlands and agricultural fields have become saturated, as shown by the darker colors.

Images taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Flooding in southern Australia," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS.

Fires, Tanami Desert: September 7, 2011 - September 23, 2011

Image: NASA

Extremely dry conditions have led to major fires in north-central Australia during the past year. In February, fires along the coast caused extensive damage and loss of life. More recently, dry conditions fed many fires in Australia's least populated area, the Tanami Desert region, which is about the size of Texas and Iowa combined.

Vegetation on its sand ridges and plains is limited largely to short grasses and shrubs. The September 7 satellite image shows scars (dark area) from previous fires. The September 23 image shows further scarring from active fires.

Images taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor aboard Landsat 5. Source: USGS Landsat Missions Gallery, "Fires Scorch Northern Australia," U.S. Department of the Interior / U.S. Geological Survey.


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