Google Climate Future

Google climate change layers give you the chance to look into how ecosystems--and hiking zones--could change in the future
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Google climate change layers give you the chance to look into how ecosystems--and hiking zones--could change in the future

If you thought diving down from outer-space to check out a trail in Google Earth was wicked cool, try going into the future: Google Earth just added climate layers that can show you what your favorite hiking destinations might look like in years to come.

The brainiacs at Google added Climate Change on Google Earth to coincide with the much-anticipated UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, December 7-18. Using data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the video tutorials go through the various scenarios of what could happen in high and low emission situations. That's just the beginning: Google also plans on adding ocean level, water depletion, and polar ice sheet melting layers in the weeks to come.

To up the ante, Google got everyone's favorite environmental champion, Internet inventor Al Gore, to narrate the videos.

Here's what Google had to say about it:

In collaboration with the Danish government and others, we are launching a series of Google Earth layers and tours to allow you to explore the potential impacts of climate change on our planet and the solutions for managing it. Working with data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we show on Google Earth the range of expected temperature and precipitation changes under different global emissions scenarios that could occur throughout the century.

Also in the works, Google is teaming up with CNN to launch a YouTube channel called "Raise Your Voice," where world leaders and celebrities will voice their climate change concerns. Google invites the general public to send in their submissions, and those with the best entries will be aired both on CNN and at the conference.

The UN, Google, and CNN all hope that this type of multimedia interaction will both give urgency to all that terrifying climatological data and serve as a wake-up call for the skeptical and indifferent. While we can't predict whether it'll truly change hearts and minds, on first glance after a quick tour through the application, we can say it's pretty effective.

Are you sold Climate Change on Google Earth? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

--Jordan Olmsted

Google Earth Launches Climate Simulator (The Guardian)

Google Earth Launches Climate Layer (Mother Nature Network)

Climate Change on Google Earth (Google)

Earth Image via Satoru Kikuchi

Al Gore Image via World Economic Forum