Episode available within Canada only.

If you thought the Earth needed millions of years to change, it’s time to think again! A Day in the Life of Earth uses the latest science to reveal how much our planet can change in just one single day. The Earth makes a mountain of new rock every hour and is not only continually changing shape but is also losing weight. Every day, you wake up on a completely different planet.

We start with the inner Earth — the invisible but hugely dynamic system beneath our feet which continually rebuilds the planet’s surface. On the island of Stromboli, we climb a volcano with geologist Professor Chris Jackson to see how much lava a single volcano can produce on a daily basis and how it builds new land. In Iceland, we find out how the entire country is growing as the inner Earth forces the continents apart and creates new land between them. The moving of continents causes around 300,000 earthquakes each day.

Solid earth can even take off and fly across an ocean. When amateur divers Ramon and Veronica Llaneza found red dust in an underwater cave in the Bahamas, little did they know how far it had travelled to get there.  Scientist Charlie Bristow has tracked the source of the dust down to the Sahara and worked out how huge quantities of solid mud get airborne and carried across the Atlantic — half a million tonnes of it per day!  Much of it ends up in the Amazon where it helps fertilize the rainforest. Meanwhile, in the Polar Regions, mountains are also being moved — by glaciers, which grind down rock 24/7 and eventually deposit it in the ocean where it helps trigger another daily change – to life.

large tree over ParisRepresentation of the tree growth on earth in one day.

In the ocean, we follow the daily growth of phytoplankton — microscopic plant-life fueled by the nutrients put there by erosion. Five billion tonnes of it grow every day, where it triggers the biggest mass movement of animal life known to science — the daily migration of the zooplankton which rises from the depths every night to feed on the plants. In Florida, we get underwater with a group of intrepid divers who plunge into the pitch-black ocean for a chance to see this global phenomenon up close. We also look at how science is now able to track the growth of plants on land using satellites. If you could put all the growth in all the world’s forests into one imaginary tree, you would get a single three-kilometre-tall tree in just one day. 

MORE:
Scientists Measure How Dramatically Our Earth Changes In A Single Day
Surfers head to the Amazon to ride the Pororoca, one of the longest waves in the world
Every day on earth the world’s plants grow 300 million tonnes, the same as an oak tree 3.5 km high

Finally, we look outwards. The Earth is not a bubble — it’s part of a bigger cosmic system that every day alters the composition of our planet. We visit Natural Resources Canada where they monitor the effects of the sun on Earth. Not only does it cause the magnetic North Pole to move up to 60 kilometres in a day but it also causes the Earth to lose weight as atmospheric gases like Helium are energized by the solar wind and leak into space at the rate of 1 kilogram per second. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. But Earth does get something back. We join a group of amateur astronomers to watch the Geminid meteor shower in the deserts of California. This heavenly light display is revealing a process that goes on all day, every day. The Earth is continually picking up space dust — an estimated 60 tonnes of it every 24 hours. 

It is a different planet every day.

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Credits (Click to expand)

DAY IN THE LIFE OF EARTH

Directed by
MATTHEW DYAS (UK)

Additional Directing
EDWARD DAVIES (UK)
CHRISTINE NIELSON (CAN)
ELIZABETH TROJIAN (CAN)


Executive Producers
JASPER JAMES (UK)
ELLIOTT HALPERN (CAN)

Producer
ELIZABETH TROJIAN (CAN)


Story Consultant
CHRISTINE NIELSON (CAN)

Editors
GREG WEST (CAN)
LEE SUTTON (UK)

Original Music Composed by
OHAD BENCHETRIT (CAN)
JUSTIN SMALL (CAN)


Directors of Photography
MARK Ó FEARGHAÍL (CAN)
STEFAN RANDSTROM (CAN)
PETER WILLIAMS (CAN)
TOBY WILKINSON (UK)
SIMON DE GLANVILLE (UK)
WILLIAM EDWARDS (UK)
SIMON FANTHORPE (UK)


Associate Producers
TIM JAMESON (UK)

Line Producers
SARAH SMITH (UK)
ANJA SOBKOWSKA (CAN)

Researcher
ROBBIE HUNTER (UK)

Archivist
GINA CALI (CAN)


Junior Production Manager
FRANCESCA ATZORI (ITALY)

Production Coordinator
JESSICA GARLAND (UK)
GRAEME BLYTH (CAN)

Assistant Production Coordinator
JORDAN JACKSON (CAN)

Development Coordinator
SAM HALPERN (CAN)


Underwater Camera Operator
NOÉ SARDET (CAN)

Camera Assistants
CHARLIE PERERA (UK)
AUBREY FAGON (UK)
WILLIAM ALLEN (CAN)


Sound Recordists
DANIEL HEWETT (CAN)
CHRISTOPHER MILLER (CAN)
KEITH HENDERSON (CAN)
PAUL NATHAN (UK)
FREDDIE CLAIRE (UK)
SAM STAPLES (UK)


Scientific Consultants
IAIN STEWART (UK)
LEWIS DARTNELL (UK)


Local Fixers
BEN CANALES (US)
JOHN WALLER (US)
COLE HANSELL (US)
SARAH HUNT (UK)
JAMES CUTTING (UK)
ARNALDUR HALLDORSSON (ICELAND)
CLAUDIO ULTANO (ITALY)


Post Production Supervisor
HARRISON FREEDMAN (CAN)

Edit Assistant
SIMON PHILLIP (UK)

Colourist
MAX HORTON (UK)

Online Editors
MAGGIE MACIEJCZEK-POTTER (UK)
ADAM SAMPLE (UK)


Sound Editor
ROGER GUERIN (CAN)

Assistant Sound Editor
JON LAWLESS (CAN)

Visual Effects by
MONSTERS ALIENS ROBOTS ZOMBIES (CAD)

Picture Post Production Services
ONSIGHT POST (UK)

Audio Post Production Services
REDLAB (CAN)

 

Business Affairs Manager
ROBIN GLEADALL (CAN)

Production Accountants
SAM SIMPSON (CAN)
GRAHAM WHEELER (UK)


Stock Footage & Stills
STORYBLOCKS
BBC MOTION GALLERY/GETTY
THE TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM
NOÉ SARDET, SHARIF MRISHAK AND CHRISTIAN SARDET, PLANKTON CHRONICLES PROJECT
SHUTTERSTOCK


Special Thanks
LINDA IANNIELLO
GAPMINDER
MIT DARWIN PROJECT, ECCO2, MITGCM
NASA
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
IMAGE SCIENCE AND ANALYSIS LABORATORY, NASA JOHNSON SPACE CENTER
EARTH SCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING UNIT, NASA JOHNSON SPACE CENTER
BIOSPHERIC SCIENCES LABORATORY, NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER
NASA’S SCIENTIFIC VISUALIZATION STUDIO
NASA/GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER
NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY
LK WARD
JOSHUA STEVENS


JESSE ALLEN
JACQUES DESCLOITRES, MODIS RAPID RESPONSE TEAM, NASA/GSFC
LANCE/EOSDIS RAPID RESPONSE FOR MODIS DATA
NOAA / NWS / PACIFIC TSUNAMIC WARNING CENTER
NASA/SDO AND THE AIA, EVE, AND HMI SCIENCE TEAMS
NOAA – POES AURORA FORECAST, NORTH POLE
WALT MEIER, NSIDC
LANDSAT DATA COURTESY OF U.S.GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
GOOGLE
CRIOS, PROF. DOUG BENN, DR. NICK HULTON AND PENNY HOW
NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ICELANDIC METEOROLOGICAL OFFICE


For ZDF Enterprises

Program Executive
NIKOLAS HÜLBUSCH (GERMAN)
RALF RÜCKAUER (GERMAN)

(ZDF Enterprises Logo)

Commissioning Editor for the BBC
DIENE PETTERLE (UK)


For France Télévisions
Press attaché
SALLY CISSÉ

Production Department
JOANNA POZZO
JESSY JONCHERET

Documentary Department
International Coproductions
CAROLINE BEHAR
THIERRY MINO
CORALINE ROCH


For the CBC

General Manager, Programming
SALLY CATTO (CAD)

Senior Director, Documentary
SANDRA KLEINFELD (CAD)

Executive in Charge of Production
SUE DANDO (CAD)


Executive Director, Unscripted Content
JENNIFER DETTMAN (CAD)


Director of Production, Unscripted Content
ALEXANDRA LANE (CAD)


A UK-Canada Coproduction

A SCREEN Glue Limited and Yap Films Inc production in association with The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, ZDF Enterprises, France Télévisions and BBC.

with the assistance of

The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit


Produced with the participation of

(CMF logo)

(ROGERS DOC FUND logo)

With the cooperation of

(CFM Logo - Canadian Federation of Musicians)


The Nature of Things
With David Suzuki

Produced by
CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

cbc.ca/natureofthings


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© 2018 SCREEN Glue Limited / Yap Day Productions Inc. 
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