20 Startling Pics To Show Anyone Who Doesn't Think Climate Change Is Real

Photo: Jeremy Potter, NOAA/OAR/OER
On Earth Day, we're taking a look at some of the most shocking images that show how our climate is changing. This story was originally published on April 22, 2015.

This Earth Day, more than 160 world leaders will sign the Paris Climate Agreement at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

They will do so on a (very) warm spring day. Last year surpassed 2014 as the hottest year on record, and the first three months of 2016 have already eclipsed prior record highs for these months, according to CBC.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the climate is changing and human activity is to blame — 97% of all working climate scientists, the United Nations, the President of the United States, and NASA agree — the GOP presidential candidates are skeptical. Senator Ted Cruz has called climate science "religion," and Governor John Kasich has said man-made climate change is "some theory that's not proven," according to ThinkProgress.

Donald Trump has tweeted that "global warming is a concept created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

It was only a little over a year ago that Senator Jim Inhofe, the Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, tried to disprove the concept of global warming by bringing a snowball into the United States Senate. (Because the fact that there is still winter means the climate isn't changing?)

We put together this slideshow as a reminder that climate change is real and needs to be taken seriously — by all of us.
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Image: NASA’s Earth Observatory. Taken by the Moderate Resolution imagine Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite.
The Missing Sea
Left: 2000, Right: 2014
The Aral Sea in Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan was once the fourth-largest lake in the world. In the 2000 image, it’s already lost a lot of water because of damming projects, and has split into eastern and western lobes. In 2014, dry conditions caused the entire eastern lobe to disappear.
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Photo: Kelsey Roberts, USGS. Via Flickr
Dying Coral
September 2010
Coral "bleaching" — losing all of the symbiotic algae that helps sustain coral and gives it its color — is a response to unusually warm water. The Florida Keys have experienced water temperatures higher than 85ºF far more consistently than they did a century ago, which puts the coral at risk of stress or even death.
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Image: NASA Earth Observatory. Taken by the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8.
The Biggest Iceberg
Left: October 2013, Right: November 2013
A 22-by-12-mile-wide iceberg splits off from the glacier, situated in Antarctica’s Western Ice Sheet. Icebergs like this are a regular event, but the one shown here is a solid 50% larger than previous ‘bergs.
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Image: NASA Earth Observatory
Going Thirsty
Left: 1994, Right: 2013
In 2013, the Elephant Butte Reservoir (which provides water for almost half the city of El Paso) hit its lowest levels in 41 years. Both lack of mountain-spring runoff and severe drought in the area contributed to the reservoir’s deplenishing, shown on the right at only 3% full.
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Image: NASA/NOAA
The Super Typhoon
November 2013
Super Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Typhoon Yolanda, is one of the most destructive typhoons in recorded history. Climate scientists say that the frequency of devastating storms like Haiyan is likely to increase as the planet’s global temperature rises.
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Photo: Jeremy Potter, NOAA/OAR/OER
Thin Ice
July 2005
The Arctic Basin, despite its location, still experiences seasonal fluctuation and melting ice in summertime. The average ice coverage in July is 3.9 million square miles. In this 2005 photo, melting ice had reduced coverage to only 3.06 million, almost a million square miles less than the average.
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Photo: Shad O'Neel, USGS. (Via Flickr)
Cracks
In 1950, this Alaskan glacier was hundreds of feet thick. In this 2010 photo, you can see the bedrock emerging through the ice.
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Image: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery "Bahr al Milh," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.
The Disappearing Lake
Left: 1995, Center: 2003, Right: 2013
While water levels vary with the season in the shallow Bahr-al-Milh Lake in Iraq, the last decade has seen drastic, year-round lows.
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Top Photo: Wright, Charles Will. 1906 Carroll Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.
Bottom Photo: Molnia, Bruce F. 2003 Carroll Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.
A New Landscape
Top: 1906, Bottom: 2003
In the top image, Carroll Glacier in Alaska dominates the landscape as the center of the photo. In the bottom image, it's been reduced to a barely-discernable sliver of ice behind an outcropping.
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Photo: Jessica Robertson/ Dept. of the Interior/U.S. Geological Survey
Endangered Species
Polar bears are one of many species whose habitats and existence are threatened by climate change. The World Wildlife Foundation predicts that by 2040, only a small fringe of ice (the Last Ice Area) will exist to support polar bears.
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Left image taken by the Multispectral Scanner onboard Landsat 3. Center image taken by the Thematic Mapper sensor onboard Landsat 4. Right image taken by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus sensor onboard Landsat 7. Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Bear Glacier, Alaska," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA.
Shrinking Glaciers
Left: 1980, Center: 1989, Right: 2011
In 20 years, warming temperatures have contributed to the glacier’s reduction. In the last image, the white specks are icebergs, which have broken off the end of the glacier into the open water.
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Photo: Toni Fish (via Flickr)
The Hottest Summer
2013
The 2012-2013 bushfire season in Australia and Tasmania was more destructive than normal, due to overabundant grass growth and a record heat wave. The 2012-2013 season was Australia’s hottest summer on record.
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Image: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Missions Gallery, "Western Wildfires," U.S. Department of the Interior / USGS and NASA, and InciWeb Incident Information System
Wildfire
Left: June 2012, Right: July 2012
Montana's Ash Creek Fire was big enough to be seen from space in this satellite image from 2012. The fire, which was exacerbated by dry conditions and unusually warm weather, destroyed a quarter of a million acres of land and took over two weeks to extinguish.
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Left photo taken by unknown photographer.
Right photo: Bruce F. Molnia. Courtesy of the Glacier Photograph Collection, National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.
Deeper Water
Left: 1940, Right: 2005
A snow-covered landscape in Alaska has transformed into a deep lake, with no ice remaining in sight.
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Image: NASA/NOAA
The Size of the Storm
October 2012
This satellite image of Hurricane Sandy, taken the day the storm made landfall just outside of New York City, shows the immensity of the hurricane, which covered the entire northeastern seaboard. The already intense storm may have been further worsened by rising sea temperatures caused by climate change.
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Image: Source: NASA's Earth Observatory
Drying Up
Left: 1999, Right: 2014
Lake Powell in Arizona and Utah, actually a long and narrow reservoir, has lost over half its water to long-term drought and water withdrawal. By the 2014 image, it had dropped to 42% of its capacity.
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Top Image: Grant, Ulysses Sherman. 1909 Holgate Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.
Bottom Image: Molnia, Bruce F. 2004 Holgate Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.
Melting Away
Top: 1909, Bottom: 2003
In the top image of Holgate Glacier in Alaska, taken in 1906, the glacier is a clear, thick ring around the central rock outcropping. In the bottom image from 2003, only a few patches of ice remain.
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Photo: Eoghan Rice - Trócaire / Caritas. (Via Flickr)
A Human Cost
November 2013
Tacloban, a city on Leyte Island in the Philippines, was hit hard by Super Typhoon Haiyan, resulting in enormous damage and loss of life. Devastating storms like Haiyan may increase as the planet’s global temperature rises.
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Top image: Field, William Osgood. 1941 Muir Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.
Bottom Image: Molnia, Bruce F. 2004 Muir Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.
Temperature Increase
Top: 1941, Bottom: 2004
In these two images of Muir Glacier, Alaska, what was once a solid sheet of ice that filled an entire valley is now a lake. The rate of temperature increase in Alaska is twice the national rate of increase.
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Photo: John McColgan, The Forest Service / U.S. Department of Agriculture
Destroyed Land
August 2000
As the planet heats, drier conditions and increased frequency of lightning are expected to make wildfires, like this one seen in Montana, more common and more furious. While the occasional wildfire is a natural part of an ecosystem, some projections warn that the amount of land destroyed by wildfire could double by the end of the century, with certain western states hit particularly hard.

A previous version of this article incorrectly listed this photo as being taken in California.
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