See Before-and-After Photos of the Changing Environment

Side-by-side comparisons reveal just how much glaciers, lakes, and snowpacks have been altered by nature and humans.

From the ice sheets of Greenland to the deserts of Arizona, many of the world’s landscapes have been dramatically transformed as their climate grows warmer and drier. At the same time, water use and other human activities have altered many landscapes. NASA has accumulated striking photos that show just how much our surroundings have changed. Slide across each image to see before and after pictures.

The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world. Progressively arid conditions and increased irrigation have decimated the lake and the surrounding communities that depend on it. Last year, the eastern basin dried completely.

Snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada reached the lowest level in recorded history. In response to several years of drought, the state mandated water restrictions for the first time. California reservoirs depend heavily on annual snowmelt to meet its water demands.

Read This Next

Sexually transmitted infections seem to be on the rise
This 1882 surveying error saved a patch of forest from logging
The Maldives is being swallowed by the sea. Can it adapt?

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet