(12 December 2016) – The Global Surface Water Explorer is a new online interactive mapping tool consisting of 3 million satellite images that will be accessible to everyone and serve to improve European and global policies for example on climate change and water management.
The maps, developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and Google Earth Engine, highlight changes in the Earth’s surface water over the past 32 years.
They show that, although the overall amount of surface water has increased globally, important losses have occurred in specific regions of Asia. The maps reveal that many of these changes are linked to human activities such as the construction of dams, river diversion and unregulated water use.
Other changes can be attributed to climate change impacts, including droughts and accelerated snow and glacier melt caused by higher temperatures and increased rainfall.