Select Page

Water in the Anthropocene is a 3-minute film charting the global impact of humans on the water cycle.

Evidence is growing that our global footprint is now so significant we have driven Earth into a new geological epoch — the Anthropocene.

Human activities such as damming and agriculture are changing the global water cycle in significant ways.

The data visualisation was commissioned by the Global Water Systems Project for a major international conference (Water in the Anthropocene, Bonn, Germany, 21-24 May, 2013).

As datasets build upon one another, the film charts Earth’s changing global water cycle, why it is changing, and what this means for the future. The vertical spikes that appear in the film represent the 48,000 large dams that have been built.

The film was produced by Globaïa and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and is also part of  a larger effort, Welcome to the Anthropocene, a website “designed to improve our collective understanding of the Earth system. The site aims to inspire, educate and engage people about humanity´s impact on Earth. Its unique combination of high-level scientific data and powerful imagery will help people visualize and better understand humanity’s geographic imprint in recent time.”

– Base map: NASA, Natural Earth, Globaïa
– Total precipitation: GEOS-5 —
– Ocean currents: OSCAR —
– Dams & Reservoir capacity: GRanD —
– Cities: VIIRS 2012 —
– Cropland (North America): Agriculture Lands 2000 —
– Anthroposphere: Several sources, see Cartography of the Anthropocene on Globaïa’s website —
– Sea ice: Sea Ice for Science on a Sphere —
– Rivers: NGIA vMAP —
– Lakes: Global Lakes and Wetlands Database —
– Human Water Security Index: Adjusted HWS Threat —

Earlyguard —
Jana Winderen —

Scientific sponsors:
International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Future Earth
Credits at the end of the film will be altered to reflect this sponsor list.