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The nature of water and its effects on the surface of Earth revealed!

Mississippi the mighty river destroyed thousands of homes and towns in 1926 when it flooded to its highest level in history. Soon after the damages had started to be restored, there were constructions of dams and levees to have control on the river and its devastating effects. More than 60 years later, river Mississippi is apparently showing signs of such historical flood yet again.

The river has become much clam and silent than before and so the sediment which created and replenished the delta is becoming lesser than before. Without the presence of these sediments the size of almost 13 thousand kilometres of the delta is slowly slipping towards the Gulf of Mexico. The size of the delta is almost 10 times the actual size of London.

Again in the history of the area around Mississippi river is threatening the people and with the rage of shifting thousands of delta lands and drown the rigid delta wetlands too. There have been similar dramatic changes across the glove and Mississippi river and its tragic history has been one of them.

Water has been shaping and stretching the existence of land in history several times from the draining of Aral Sea in the crops of the Middle East to the effects on the dam construction in China. Even the drought in the Western US was also because of the impact of the river on parts of America.

It is because of the partnership between the Google and European Commission’s Joint Research centre that we are able to view the changes of water on the surface of the Earth and how stories have developed in years in the form of pictures and graphs. This partnership has made possible getting unprecedented details of the changes of water in time.

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The project brought life to data processing methods along with analysis which took study on almost 1000s of computers simultaneously. The 1.8 petabytes data from NASA/USGS Landsat satellite program almost took 3 years to process and prepare for the analysis.

Each picture and details of the satellite images went back to the 1984 graphs was run on Google Earth Engine platform with examination on computer algorithm developed by Joint Research Commission. It took almost 10 million hours to complete the project.

Some of the findings that maps and measures the changes in water over the surface of the Earth are:

  • The drying up of the rivers like Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan has been the biggest loss in the world.
  • Afghanistan has lost half of its water area while Iran lost one-third.
  • 90 square thousand kilometers of water i.e. almost half of the lakes in Europe have vanished. While almost 200 square kilometers of manmade water bodies were constructed.
  • The western states of US loss almost the half of their water.

The research is published in Journal Nature and is available for people on this new website. For more reference the stories are live on Google Earth Engine to research, use, download and study.

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