Monday, May 19, 2008

Google Earth to map climate change over next 50 years 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, thanks to a new project launched today.

The project, Climate Change in Our World, is the product of a collaboration between Google, the UK Government, the Met Office Hadley Centre and the British Antarctic Survey to provide two new 'layers', or animations, available to all users of Google Earth. It was launched by Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Google Zeitgeist conference today.

One animation uses world 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, along with stories of how people in the UK and in some of the world's poorest countries are already being affected by changing weather patterns. Users can also access 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, show the retreat of Antarctic ice caps since the 1950s, and features facts about climate change science and impacts in the Antarctic.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: "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. 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….

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