NBC Hypes 'Jaw-Dropping Images' of 'Melting Glaciers, Vanishing Rain Forests, Non-Stop Urban Sprawl'

Teasing an upcoming story on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams fretted over "The dramatic changes we've watched happen to our planet" as shown in "jaw-dropping images from above." In the report that followed, correspondent Rehema Ellis lamented: "From melting glaciers to vanishing rain forests to non-stop urban sprawl. All visible through millions of satellite images collected by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Ellis noted that: "Google and Time magazine partnered to put the time lapsed images online." Talking to Time's editor at large Jeffrey Kluger, Ellis worried: "[The images] include the rain forest of Brazil, the green seen disappearing over time." Kluger added: "One area in the Amazonian rain forest used to be about the size of Nebraska. It has now lost 25,000 square miles, or like losing West Virginia."

Moments later, Ellis warned: "In Alaska, the Columbia glacier once rose over 10,000 feet above sea level. Now only a small part of it is left."


Here is a full transcript of the May 9 report:

7:13PM ET TEASE:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And Later, as the world turns, our first look at stunning views from above. The dramatic changes we've watched happen to our planet.

7:18PM ET TEASE:

WILLIAMS: And we're back in a moment with a trip around the world and some jaw-dropping images from above.

7:21PM ET SEGMENT:

WILLIAMS: Tonight we have a special and highly unusual view of our own planet. It's from a team of scientists specializing in imaging who, along with some journalists, have given us a first-of-its-kind view of how we have changed over the years. We get our preview tonight from NBC's Rehema Ellis.

REHEMA ELLIS: As the world turns and time passes, the changes to our planet are dramatic. From melting glaciers to vanishing rain forests to non-stop urban sprawl. All visible through millions of satellite images collected by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Google and Time magazine partnered to put the time lapsed images online.

We've seen satellite images of Earth before. What makes this project so extraordinary?

JEFFREY KLUGER [TIME EDITOR AT LARGE]: We're looking at 29 years of images, from 1984 to 2012. The clarity is absolutely breathtaking.

ELLIS: They include the rain forest of Brazil, the green seen disappearing over time.

KLUGER: One area in the Amazonian rain forest used to be about the size of Nebraska. It has now lost 25,000 square miles, or like losing West Virginia.

ELLIS: In Dubai in the Middle East, the population has grown from 300,000 in 1984 to more than 2 million today. Not just building up the desert, but building out into the sea. And these mushrooming polka-dots are actually irrigation systems, turning Saudi Arabia into a bread basket.

In Alaska, the Columbia glacier once rose over 10,000 feet above sea level. Now only a small part of it is left. And while there is much more of Las Vegas than there used to be, Lake Mead, the region's main water supply, contracts.

Our world in stunning images over time, as it's never been seen before. Rehema Ellis, NBC News, New York.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC