Google Earth Engine to provide climate scientists with satellite data

Google Earth logoGoogle Earth isn't just for spying on people's backyards anymore—it's being put to work as a tool for studying climate change. Google announced the introduction of Google Earth Engine on its blog today, a platform that makes a huge amount of satellite images of the planet available for viewing, along with tools and computing power for analysis.

Google highlights how a comprehensive set of satellite images over long time scales can provide some interesting data. Some examples include tracking changes in forest and water coverage; the site has already posted a couple of image sets for the Earth's albedo, or sunlight reflection.

In addition to raw data, Google Earth Engine will also provide tools for analysis. The company is donating 10 million CPU hours over the next two years to facilitate everything from cloud removal in the images to providing underfunded sustainability researchers with computing power to cut and slice the images as they see fit.

Of course, satellite images can only communicate a small part of the state of the world, and would probably be best used in conjunction with other data. Still, Google hopes that Earth Engine will help with some big climate change agents, like deforestation.

Source: ars technica

Tags: Google, Google Earth

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