I always thought that if you looked at the world from a long way away, there would be snow on the top and snow on the bottom. I have no idea where that notion came from – maybe the years of being subjected to the weekly treat of “Look and Learn” as a comic instead of The Beano – but either way there would be lots of snow. There isn’t !
I decided to try and find a penguin using Google Earth. I knew it was a long shot but I figured a black penguin against white snow would be a head start. I even remembered that I should start at the South Pole – mind, I had to find my own way there as Google Earth has no record of the place – but a couple of things surprised me:
– the images are very blurred. Is this to conceal secret installations of military things ? Or is it because the satellite trajectory means that it’s travelling really fast and it cannot focus on white ? (Don’t tell the commies or they’ll be over as sprinting snowmen !)
– There is a lot of the South Pole.
In fact the amount there is is about what I would have guessed. I think if someone had given me a pictures of the globe and asked me to colour in the amount I thought the South Pole would be, I’d have been close.
I’d have been waaaaaay off with the North Pole. It’s tiny. I’ll accept that if you are there that even I as a lover of the cold rather than a sun-worshipper would find it a tad on the chilly and barren side of welcoming, but even so it is so small !
I do believe in Global Warming as a phenomenon and my perception now could easily be “Look ! It’s nearly all gone !” which it may well be, but that’s based on my childhood beliefs but even so, doesn’t it look small ? Isn’t it smaller than you thought it would be ? And isn’t that worrying in some right now abstract way ? I wonder if someone somewhere has done lots of zooming and measuring so that when things are updated they can say “It’s got smaller!” because this GE tool has given us that possibility hasn’t it ? And not just snow but rainforests and rivers and deserts and roads – I hope someone maps roads. Tarmac is evil.
I can’t twist the world to show snow on the top and the bottom at the same time. My childhood vision is gone.
I’ll keep you updated on the penguin search :)