Even distance does not provide adequate perspective on all things. In terms of the cryosphere — the frozen stretches of the planet that act as the Earth's thermostat - the best way to fully appreciate its importance is not only from orbiting observatories, but also through the data they collect.
That data forms the backbone of this extraordinary visual tour. In a little more than seven minutes, some of the best data visualizers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center lead viewers across the icy reaches of Antarctica, the drifting expanse of polar sea ice, the shrinking cap around the North Pole, and more.
The tour travels around the world in a single "shot"; there are no abrupt cuts or scene changes. The effect of this technique helps convey the interconnectedness of the cryosphere to the rest of the world, and also helps viewers feel that they are not so distant from the world's snow and ice assets.
The video also highlights the scientific importance of continued collection of this kind of data, and why NASA is uniquely qualified to study the Earth.
NASA has packaged up two versions of the Tour of the Cryosphere for download.
The first presents narration with the video; the second presents the video without narration, but uses a dramatic musical score and on-screen annotations as you traverse the planet. You will find versions of each video, plus related still images in multiple screen sizes and resolutions at our main download site.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
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