If you compare some of the photographs which can be found on NASA’s website, you can really see how human beings have changed the appearance of our world over the years. The time difference between these images ranges from five to 100 years. Incredible stuff.

Around the globe, some 370 million people live in basins where rivers derive at least 10 percent of their seasonal discharge from glacier melt. Glacier melt provides drinking water for human populations, and irrigation water for crops. The damming of glacial melt water even generates hydroelectric power. The retreat of the majority of mountain glaciers worldwide is one of the clearest signs of long-term climate change.

Pedersen Glacier, Alaska. Summer, 1917 — summer, 2005.
Pedersen Glacier, at Aialik Bay in Alaska’s Kenai Mountains, in 1917 (left) and 2005 (right). In the early 20th century, the glacier met the water and calved icebergs into a marginal lake near the bay. By 2005, the glacier had retreated, leaving behind sediment allowed the lake to be transformed into a small grassland. Photos courtesy of Louis H. Pedersen (1917) and Bruce F. Molina (2005), obtained from the Glacier Photograph Collection, Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.

Aral Sea, Central Asia. August, 2000 — August, 2014.

Lake Oroville, California. July, 2010 — August, 2016.

Carroll Glacier, Alaska. August, 1906 — September, 2003.

Powell Lake, Arizona and Utah. March, 1999 — May, 2014.

Bear Glacier, Alaska. July, 1909 — August, 2005.

Forests in Rondonia, Brazil. June, 1975 — August, 2009.

McCarty Glacier, Alaska. July, 1909 — August, 2004.

The Dasht River, Pakistan, August, 1999 — June, 2011. The Mirani Dam supplies clean drinking water and power to the surrounding area. The dam also helps support local agriculture.

Matterhorn Mountain in the Alps, on the border between Switzerland and Italy. August, 1960 — August, 2005.

Mabira Forest, Uganda. November, 2001 — January, 2006.

Toboggan Glacier, Alaska. June, 1909 — September, 2000.

Great Man-Made River, Libya, April, 1987 — April, 2010. This is the greatest engineering project in the world: a network of pipes, aqueducts and wells more than 500 metres deep. The water system provides the desert area with water.

Qori Kalis Glacier, Peru. July, 1978 — July, 2011.

Mar Chiquita Lake, Argentina. July, 1998. — September, 2011.

Muir Glacier, Alaska. August, 1941 — August, 2004.

Uruguay Forests, March, 1975 — February, 2009. Uruguay has managed to grow its forested area from 45,000 hectares to 900,000 hectares. However, this has had the effect of a loss of plant and animal diversity.

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