Do you ever think of Earth as a living, breathing creature? If so, you are not alone. Using images from the NASA Visible Earth project, John Nelson of IDV Solutions created timelapse GIFs that give you an outer space view of Earth’s changing seasons. The looping effect of the GIFs lends a humanness to the planet as it appears to breath in and out.
To create the GIFs, Nelson downloaded NASA’s twelve cloud-free imagery mosaics of Earth (one from each month of the year), wrapped them into projections, and combined them into these GIFs. Interestingly, the graphics demonstrate varying climates around the world, like the mild climate of the British Isles. The timelapse lets you watch snow “spread” from the start of winter in higher elevations like the Himalayas to lower locations. Though the graphics illustrate the grandness of Earth, they also remind us that Earth is home.
Nelson created this project as a way to make Earth seem more similar to the “seasonal metronome” of his home in Michigan, U.S.A. “When I stitch together what can be an impersonal snapshot of an entire planet, all of the sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat. I can track one location throughout a year to compare the annual push and pull of snow and plant life there, while in my periphery I see the oscillating wave of life advancing and retreating, advancing and retreating. And I’m reassured by it,” he wrote in the IDV Solutions blog.