Visualizing Climate Change

October 8, 2012
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The effects of climate change are manifold. As evidenced by the following photographs, they do not take on a single, distinctive form, nor do they affect world regions the same way. Often confused with global warming, climate change is simply the change in average weather conditions or its distribution within a particular region. However, most within the scientific community believe that these changes are aggravated by human activity.

A Flooded Farm In Iowa

This photo was taken in Oakville, Iowa after an onslaught of heavy rain caused rivers to top their banks and break through the levees. Millions of crops were ruined.

A Slipping Grey Glacier

This photo was snapped by the International Space Station. It features Grey Glacier, part of Argentina and Chile’s vast Patagonian ice field. Scientists speculate that while it still appears massive from above, the glacier has been shrinking for decades.

The Colorado River’s Dry Delta

From National Geographic: For eons the Colorado River’s journey from the Rocky Mountains ended in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Now the river routinely peters out well short of the shore, leaving its delta dry.

Shifting precipitation patterns are partly responsible, as are dams and the staggering water requirements of the Americans along its banks. The average U.S. resident directly uses 100 gallons (378.5 liters) of water per day, compared to just 5 gallons (18.9 liters) daily for an average African.

A Cyclone Stirs Queensland

The greatest La Niña event ever recorded left in its wake tattered and desolate fauna. Rocking Queensland, the Yasi cyclone caused unprecedented flooding that resulted in a near decimation of much of its basins and coal mines.

A Terrible Drought Swipes At The Amazon

Taken east of the Barreirinha, a large vessel is trapped in what once was a river. The year 2005 marked one of the worst droughts that the Amazon has suffered.

Melting Permafrost In Russia

Not even ancient permafrost is safe from climate change. This aerial photo, taken in the Yamal Peninsula, features age-old Russian tundra permafrost slowly melting due to rising temperatures.

Droughts In Australia

Australian farmers and graziers are suffering greatly from the droughts plaguing their hallowed and once profitable environs, especially those who rely on the Murray-Darling river system. Thus it is safe to say that climate change is capable of causing increased economic hardships–not solely environmental ones.

Jharia Coal Mine Illegal Pickers

In what once was a chest full of high-quality coking coal now rests a smoldering pit. Thanks to swarms of fires, one of India’s most important coal mines is now little more than a toxic, slow-burning inferno that threatens the livelihood of the tribes that live nearby.

Sea Ice At The Petermann Glacier

This photo captures what is known as basal or submarine melting–i.e. when a glacier’s base begins to thin due to exposure to warmer waters or foreign mineral deposits.

Cleared Land For Farming

As this photo demonstrates, cultivation and farming suffer as climate change may rid regular–and necessary–rainfall from regions that rely on it for their economic wellbeing.

Climate Change’s Impact On Living Creatures

Hardly discernible from the cracked earth on which its own desiccated form remains, this photo features a dead fish found within the dry river bed of Manaquiri Lake–or rather, what used to be a lake. Today, it is little more than a narrow stream.

The Infrastructure Impact

This photo illustrates the important truth that our own activity most likely will only aid in the destruction of some of our most basic works: our infrastructure. The image featured depicts a telephone pole ravaged by a wildfire in Russia’s Volgogradsky region.

Sea Levels Rise In India

Says Shukdev Das, the man featured in the photo, “I lost my house due to the Ganga. We are certain that in the near future, our Ghoramara Island will also be under the Ganga. We don’t know where we will live in the future.” What Das describes as Ganga is the large river causing floods within India and, thanks to rising sea levels, is in the throes of salinization.

Australia’s Dry Lakes

The sign present in the foreground of this photo is little more than a haunting vestige of a landform quite literally gone to dust. Taken at what once was the Condobolin Lake, its waters have been missing for years now.