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How scary are these satellite images of Lake Powell?

Answer: Very scary.

Lake Powell of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area sits right at the Utah/Arizona border.
Another day, another depressing, devastating (just pick a negative adjective) story on how satellite images are revealing the impact of climate change. Today’s subject is Lake Powell, one of the largest reservoirs in the U.S.

Located in Arizona and Utah and a part of the Colorado River, Lake Powell was created in 1963 with the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. It took another 17 years for the reservoir to fill up, but lately it’s been doing the exact opposite. The European Space Agency (ESA) this week released satellite images from its Copernicus Sentinel-2 showing how much Powell’s water levels have declined since 2018, and it is unsettling to say the least.

The images are sobering. In the last few years, Lake Powell has drained to the lowest water level in its history, and there are no signs of that trend reversing. ESA was kind enough to present the images as a GIF to make it all even more terrifying to look at.