A photographic journey of planet Earth

She may look beautiful, but Earth is in danger.

The planet just had its warmest winter on record, which comes on the heels of its warmest year. But data shows that the record-warm year of 2014 was no fluke. In fact, 2015 has a decent shot at exceeding the 2014 record, for a back-to-back string of record-warm years.

Global warming is affecting the entire planet, from the ice caps of the Arctic and Antarctic, to the depths of the sea and the plains of Africa. The shifting weather patterns, increased heat waves and wildfires, as well as other climate change impacts will affect all of Earth’s inhabitants, large and small.

By burning fossil fuels for energy, chopping down forests for palm oil and wood products as well as through overfishing the seas, humanity is reshaping the planet in ways it never had before.

Geologists are describing the period the Earth is in as the “anthropocene,” an entirely new geological epoch dominated by human influences on the environment.

To truly appreciate what’s at stake, it’s necessary to view the wonders of the planet — from volcanoes to the mysteries of the deep sea.

Cacti in the Valle de los Cirios, near Guerrero Negro, Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. Taken on March 3, 2015.

AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

A very fast-moving and severe bow echo moves down the highway from Redfield to Watertown South Dakota on Aug. 3, 2012. Forward speed of the bow was around 60 mph. At least 80 mph winds accompanied the bow in areas, with many trees uprooted and buildings toppled off their foundation.

Mike Hollingshead/Corbis

A dust storm moves through Phoenix, Arizona on Aug. 26, 2013.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Vehicles move on a road during a dust storm in Bikaner of Rajasthan, India, June 13, 2013.

Stringer/Xinhua Press/Corbis

“How much time do we have to avoid some irreversible damage? None. It’s run out. Regrettably, some irreversible damage has taken place. But the catastrophic damage that must be avoided can still be avoided. The longer we wait, the harder and more expensive it gets.”

Long columns of Wildebeest cross the grassy plains of Masai Mara during the annual migration of these antelopes.

Nigel Pavitt/JAI/Corbis

Giraffes run along banks of Chobe River in Botswana in June 2014.

Paul Souders/Corbis

Masai Giraffes tower above a mixed herd of wildebeest and zebra on the plains of Masai Mara.

Nigel Pavitt/JAI/Corbis

Flocks of Starlings, probably consisting of tens of thousands of individuals, perform what seem to be well choreographed aerial dances in the Western Negev in Gerar River, Israel on Feb. 4, 2015.

Nir Alon/ZUMA Wire

Bazman volcano is located in a remote region of southern Iran. While the volcano has the classic cone shape of a stratovolcano, it is also heavily dissected by channels that extend downwards from summit. This radial drainage pattern is readily observed from the International Space Station.


“Undoubtedly one of the coolest space sights on Earth.”
Cmdr. Chris Hadfield on seeing the Richat Structure from the space station

The Richat Structure of Guelb er Richat in Mauritania is a landmark astronauts see as they pass over the Sahara. Originally thought to be a meteorite impact, it is now known to be a volcanic bulge that never erupted and was leveled by erosion.

George Steinmetz/Corbis

Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River at the South Rim, Arizona.

Michael Runkel/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis

A fissure eruption started in Holuhraun at the northern end of a magma intrusion, which had moved progressively north, from the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland. This photo was taken on Jan. 10, 2015.


Due to drought, Iguazu Falls, on the border of Argentina and Brazil, recorded the lowest flow of the year in October 2014 at 210 liters per second. The average volume the attraction is 1.5 million liters per second.

Christian Rizzi/Fotoarena/Corbis

Water flows over Niagara Falls on the American side on Feb. 19, 2015 during a deep winter freeze. Plunging temperatures led to more of the falls covered in ice than usual.

Peter Power/ZUMA Press/Corbis


Amount that West Antarctic ice loss has surged this decade alone

4 feet

How much sea level could rise if these glaciers were to completely collapse

A single snowflake displays its fragile crystal structure in Siebersdorf, Germany in February 2015.

Patrick Pleul/dpa/Corbis

Aerial of Hubbard Glacier blocking Russell Fjord on Oct. 15, 2014.

R.E. Johnson/Design Pics/Corbis

The New York skyline is seen across the East River, with floating chunks of ice, from Brooklyn in February 2015.


The spirals of the so-called Hausmannsturm of Dresden palace (L) and the palace chapell are surrounded by mist and fog in February 2015.


Lake Ontario is frozen over as far as the eye can see from the pier at Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, Ontario on Feb. 22, 2015.


Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, in southern Argentina, completed its break in the middle of a storm on March 4, 2012.


A surfer rides the waves in Waimea Bay, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii on Jan. 21, 2015.

Douglas Peebles/Corbis

A feeding whale shark pictured in Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia on Jan. 10, 2015.

Reinhard Dirscherl/Corbis

2.5 miles

Average ocean depth


3.3 feet

How much global average sea level may rise by 2100

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Ko Tub and ko Poda island in Thailand’s Krabi province. Pictured on Jan. 25, 2014.

Tuul & Bruno Morandi/Corbis

Ralph Lee Hopkins/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Ralph Lee Hopkins/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Two endangered humpback whales swim in Maui, Hawaii.

Ralph Lee Hopkins/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

“Uncertainty is not our friend when it comes to human-caused climate change. It appears to be cutting against us, rather than in our favor, once again.”
Stefan Rahmstorf, climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Cape Range National Park in Western Australia. Pictured on Sept. 22, 2014.

Frank Krahmer/Corbis

Northern lights on Khibiny Mountains, Murmansk region, Russia.


Vibrant red and green aurora borealis above the birch tree forest in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Patrick J. Endres/AlaskaPhotoGraphics/Corbis

Milky Way and starry sky above small aspen tree in on Thousand Lake Mountain in Utah’s Fishlake National Forest.

Scott Smith/Corbis

Milky Way and starry sky above grove of aspen trees lit by flashlight in Utah’s Fishlake National Forest.

Scott Smith/Corbis

The partial solar eclipse seen from Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom on March 20, 2015.

Nathan Cleary/Demotix/Corbis

Libya as seen from high above on Sept. 8, 2014. Billowing cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds suggest that a cold, windy front was moving across the desert, perhaps a haboob. The African land surface was almost completely blocked from view by the thick dust; even the lower portions of some clouds were obscured.


“What I keep imagining is if I am some lonely traveler from another planet what I would think about the Earth at this altitude, whether I think it would be inhabited or not.”
Apollo 8 astronaut James Lovell to Cmdr. Frank Borman during orbit in 1968

On Feb. 12, 1984, astronaut Bruce McCandless, ventured further away from the confines and safety of his ship than any previous astronaut had ever been. This space first was made possible by a nitrogen jet propelled backpack, previously known at NASA as the Manned Maneuvering Unit or MMU.

post by Mashable