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    Jan 5, 2015

    6 GIFs That Show The State Of Earth

    If you have a hard time visualizing climate change, here's how our planet is faring.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    While Earth doesn't have a place to stick a tongue depressor, researchers still give it regular checkups.

    Here are our planet's vitals, according to NASA's recent medical charts.


    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / NASA Scientific Visualization Studio / NASA/GISS / Via

    Global temps have jumped 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last recorded 134 years. The fluctuating dark blue areas (above) show temps cooler than usual, and the dark red means that spot is warmer than usual.

    That may not seem like much, but to put things into perspective: We've had nine of the 10 warmest years on record since 2000, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.


    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / NASA Scientific Visualization Studio / Via

    Sea ice is frozen ocean water. Just two years ago, the sea ice in the Arctic diminished to its lowest level ever, which can disturb wildlife and people who depend on its signals to hunt and travel.

    The snow that covers the ice and can help insulate it has also thinned between 30% and 50% in the last half-century, a study published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans this year shows.


    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / NASA / Via

    Land ice is stuff like glaciers and ice sheets. Antarctica has taken a hit of 147 billion tons of ice a year in the past decade, but Greenland loses an immense 258 billion tons annually.


    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Via

    In the past 100 years, that totals about seven inches, globally. Two things contribute to sea levels: melting land ice and the expansion of sea water as it gets warmer.

    5. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are the highest they've been in the last 650,000 years.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed / Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) / NASA / Via

    CO2 traps heat, which is why we refer to it as a greenhouse gas. Things we do, like burn coal or clear forests that help clear CO2, contribute to more and more CO2 — and that's in addition to natural stuff that emits it, like volcanic eruptions and, you know, breathing.

    In the U.S., the bulk of it comes from transportation and electricity, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

    In terms of Earth, CO2 in the air is up 399.30 parts per million (or ppm, as shown in the graph). The last time it was that high was about 3 to 5 million years ago, well before modern humans puttered around, BBC News reported.

    6. Forest cover has lost 1.5 million square miles.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    Indonesia has had the biggest increase in forest loss between 2000 and 2012, while Brazil had the biggest decrease, according to a study published in Science.

    Wishing you good health this year, Earth.


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