Google Earth zooms in on dangerous climate change

14 July 2010

Climate impacts mapA new interactive Google Earth map showing the impacts of a 4 °C warmer world was launched today by the Government, in partnership with the Met Office.

Pushing the barriers with Google Earth technology, the multi platform, interactive map highlights some of the changes that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 4 °C above the pre-industrial climate average.

The Google Earth layer lends a human face to climate science by featuring videos of climate scientists from the UK explaining the latest scientific research behind the climate impacts shown.

The map also includes videos of FCO and British Council climate change projects currently taking place around the world.

Launched by Foreign Office Minister, Henry Bellingham and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker alongside Chief Government Scientist, Professor John Beddington, the map was developed using peer-reviewed science from the Met Office Hadley Centre and other leading impact scientists.

The UK Government is committed to keeping global temperatures as low as practical to avoid dangerous levels of climate change and is working to secure an ambitious global deal which achieves this. The Copenhagen Accord already commits countries to limiting average global temperature increases to 2 °C.

Foreign Office Minister, Henry Bellingham, said: "The threat from climate change has not gone away and this Government is committed to doing what it can to take action. We are committed to being the greenest Government ever. As the Foreign Secretary set out recently in his first major foreign policy speech, he is keen to engage with new audiences. This Google Earth map supports that commitment to tackling climate change and will hopefully communicate with a bigger audience globally about why the UK Government is being active in championing the transition to a low carbon economy."

Greg Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister said: "This map reinforces our determination to act against dangerous man-made climate change. We know the stakes are high and that's why we want to help secure an ambitious global climate change deal."

Ed Parsons from Google said: "This is a great example of the benefits of using the latest web technology to visualise scientific information and promote better understanding of the potential human impacts of climate change. Allowing scientists to talk about their research to the general public is a way to enable the public to fully understand how the process of scientific investigation works."

Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Change Advice at the Met Office, said: "If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, global average temperatures could increase by 4 °C by the end of the century, and possibly as early as 2060. This new mapping onto Google Earth illustrates some of the potential impacts of such a rise. It uses the latest climate and impacts science to highlight the consequences of not reducing emissions."

External link icon Download the four degrees Celsius Google Earth layer (kml), requires  External link icon Google Earth to be installed

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Last updated: 21 April 2011