19 Apr 2012

FRAGILE EARTH – Capturing the World’s Changing Landscape

See the world change in front of your eyes with Fragile Earth. This stunning new photography app gives a bird’s-eye view of natural and man-made locations from around the world as they undergo dramatic changes through climate change, urbanization and nature’s raw power.

This innovative app, which is being launched on 19th April 2012 by Collins, in partnership with Aimer Media, is set to become the definitive reference guide for all those interested in science, nature, photography and landscape.

Fragile Earth’s innovative swipe function allows users to see years pass under their fingertips by dragging multiple photographic layers across their smart screen to reveal images of a site before, during and after the landscape has changed.

Through some of the most powerful images of the world available, Fragile Earth provides thought-provoking portraits of our world – its beauty, vastness and vulnerability. The app depicts rivers which have dried up or flooded, erupted volcanoes, glaciers in the process of melting, and cities sprawling outward.

The Aral Sea was once the world’s fourth-largest lake, but as can be seen in the four satellite images, has decreased in size over the last forty years. Today, due to climate change and the diversion of water from its feeder rivers for irrigation, it is much smaller. Steps have been taken to preserve the northern part by constructing a dam, but the southern part has been abandoned to its fate.The local fishing industry on the Aral Sea has been devastated by the lake’s shrinkage and the local population has developed health problems due to the exposure of chemicals on the dry sea bed. Abandoned ships litter the former lake bed and as it dries out vast salt plains are forming and dust storms are becoming more frequent. 
The earthquake that struck Sichuan on 12 May 2008 created devastation in the wider landscape as well as in towns and cities. Many landslides were triggered which caused problems with rescue efforts. This area is around 150 km (90 miles) from the epicentre. The false colour images show vegetation in red and the second image has numerous grey patches where bare ground has been exposed by the many landslides heading downslope into the rivers.

These satellite images show the Neelum river at Makhri just north of Muzaffarabad, before and after the magnitude 7.6 earthquake which struck northern Pakistan on 8 October 2005. Major landslides have blocked the river’s usual course, forcing it to change direction. Its water is brown with sediment from many more landslides upriver.

A typical late summer season view of Western Australia can be seen in the first image, but on 1 March 2006 cyclone Emma hit and the ground was deluged with heavy rain. This triggered widespread flooding in the Murchison and Gascoyne river basins as seen in the second image. Vegetation has flourished in this wet period, making the flooded rivers stand out clearly.

Snow cover in January 2010 in the northern hemisphere extends in an almost horizontal band as far south as the USA/Canada border and from eastern Europe to northern China. South of this line the high mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains, the Caucasus, the Himalaya and Japan are snowclad. Western Europe, as a consequence of its position next to the Atlantic Ocean and the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, is snow-free. The southern hemisphere, apart from the continent of Antarctica, is virtually clear of snow.In July 2011 the difference in snow cover in the northern hemisphere is immediately obvious with snow now confined to the Arctic regions and the highest mountain ranges. Even though it is now winter in the southern hemisphere there is little evidence of snow except in the Andes in South America and the Southern Alps of New Zealand. The land mass of Antarctica continues to be covered but as there is no land immediately to its north there is no discernible extension of snow cover. The continents of Africa and Australia are almost entirely snow-free throughout the year.
Other events featured in the app include the landslides in MaieratoItaly, the drying of the Aral Sea, formerly one of the largest lakes in the world, the draining of the Mesopotamia Marshes in Iraq, land reclamation in IjsselmeerNetherlands, and the effects of Amazon deforestation in Rondônia, Brazil.
Fragile Earth is arranged into the following sections: Natural PhenomenaWarming WorldWater’s PowerDeserts and DroughtMan’s Impact, and Wild Weather. The images can be viewed by location, category and date, and shared via FacebookTwitter, or email without leaving the app, helping to spread consciousness about the planet.

Fragile Earth conveys the innate and delicate beauty of the world’s landscape, and highlights dramatic shifts that are taking place across the globe. It is invaluable to anyone concerned for the state of the Earth.

To celebrate Earth Day (22nd April 2012) the Fragile Earth app will be available at the special price of 69p
The promotional price lasts for 1 week, from Midnight on 21st April 2012 to Midnight 28th March 2012

Aimer Media are the innovative team behind the The Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms and The Collins World’s Heritage apps 

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