Mission Areas

Climate and Land Use Change

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Climate and Land Use science is essential to improve understanding of past and present change; develop relevant forecasts; and identify those lands, resources, and communities most vulnerable to Earth system change processes.

Our Science Strategy
Filter Total Items: 67
Evelyn Anemaet using an RTK to determine elevation of tidal swamp near the mouth of the Pocomoke River, MD
Date Published: April 7, 2016

When it comes to hurricanes, wind and storm surge effect vegetation differently. USGS anlyzes these differences following Hurricane Sandy to help inform management on storm mitigation and long-term planning. 

Disentangling the mechanisms regulating coastal wetland sustainability in the face of rising sea levels
Date Published: April 7, 2016

Understanding systems sometimes requires approaches that allow for both the discovery of the a system's structure and the estimation of its implications. Structural Equation Modeling - SEM - is one tool scientists use to better understand the complex world in which we live. 

Agassiz Glacier - 2005 color
Date Published: April 7, 2016
Status: Active

A view of Agassiz Glacier from Boulder Pass, Glacier NP.

Please respect the photographer: When using these photographs, please credit the photographer and source (eg. T.J. Hileman, courtesy of Glacier National Park Archives). The paired images at the top of this page are examples of proper crediting for each photo. 

To download images, select the Multimedia tab....

Contacts: Lisa McKeon
Collecting surface elevation table (SET) data from mangroves
Date Published: April 7, 2016

Wetlands vary in their abilities to keep up with sea-level rise; they either adjust vertically and/or move inland. USGS is working with partners around the world to measure rates of surface elevation change relative to local sea-level rise. 

Getting the shot of Blackfoot Glacier, GNP.
Date Published: April 6, 2016
Status: Active

Climate change research in Glacier National Park, Montana entails many methods of documenting the landscape change, including the decline of the parks namesake glaciers. While less quantitative than other high-tech methods of recording glacial mass, depth, and rate of retreat, repeat photography has become a valuable tool for communicating effects of global warming. With evidence of worldwide...

Contacts: Lisa McKeon
Image: Shepard Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana - 2005
Date Published: April 6, 2016

Worldwide glacial glacier recession is well documented (1,2) and varied model projections suggest that certain studied GNP glaciers will disappear in the next few decades, between 2030 (3) to 2080 (4).  USGS scientists in Glacier National Park are collaborating with glaciologist from Alaska and Washington and using...

Setting up a weather station in Glacier National Park
Date Published: April 6, 2016

Glacier National Park is a topographically diverse region, making localized effects of elevation, aspect, and cold air drainage several of many important factors that necessitate a diversity of long-term climate monitoring sites. Additionally, many studies have shown more rapid warming at higher elevations across the Intermountain West, but with relatively few high-elevation stations available...

Image: Getting the Shot, Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park.
Date Published: April 6, 2016

Repeat photography is being used by the CCME program to document landscape change. Glaciers have been the primary focus of this park-wide survey and this collection of repeat photographs, available for download on the CCME website, have been used to illustrate the effects of climate change in venues across the globe. These powerful images, with their inherent ease of interpretation, have...

Avalanche forecasters ski out to investigate the crown of a large wet slab avalanche in Haystack Creek drainage. This drainage i
Date Published: April 5, 2016

Since 1991, CCME staff have conducted snow surveys throughout Glacier National Park. These data have contributed to regional climate change and hydrologic models. Snowpack characteristics have also been evaluated in relation to avalanche forecasting and plowing of GNP’s Going to the Sun Road efforts. Studies of natural snow avalanches reveal connections with large-scale climate and wildfire...

Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park.
Date Published: April 5, 2016

The Secondary Glacier Network includes six glaciers (Chaney, Grinnell, Stanton, Agassiz, Swiftcurrent, Jackson-Blackfoot Glaciers) that form a north-south transect of approx. 60 km through the region, with Sperry Glacier just south of center. While these glaciers will be monitored less frequently than the benchmark glacier, Sperry, this network will provide data about the variability of...

Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park.
Date Published: April 5, 2016

Sperry Glacier was chosen as the benchmark glacier for the glacier monitoring studies, due to the combination of its topographic characteristics, historic data, and access. Annual mass balance measurements began in 2005. Sperry Glacier joined the long-established USGS Benchmark Glacier Research program in 2013 where common field and analysis methods enable regional comparison and improved...

Measuring the glacier margin.
Date Published: April 5, 2016

The purpose of the CCME's glacier monitoring studies is to systematically monitor changes in Glacier National Park’s namesake glaciers and to determine the causes of changes, assess their ecological and hydrological effects, and predict future changes and effects.

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August 21, 2017
On Monday, August 21, 2017, several locations throughout the United States will experience total darkness during the first total solar eclipse in the U.S. in nearly 40 years. Follow along with this video to see satellite imagery of several of these locations that will experience complete darkness for a few minutes when the eclipse occurs. Will you be watching from one of these locations? The...
August 18, 2017
Even on an island of ice and glaciers, wildfires can occur. This August, Earth-observing satellites detected this fire burning in western Greenland. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov/ )
August 7, 2017
This webinar was conducted on August 7, 2017 as part of the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center’s Climate Change Science and Management Webinar Series, held in partnership with the USFWS National Conservation Training Center. Webinar Summary: The South Central U.S. is one of the main agricultural regions in North America: annual agricultural production is valued at more than...
2017 (approx.)
Getting Started with VIIRS Surface Reflectance Data Part 2: Using the Data ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This video focuses on how to use Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Surface Reflectance data products created by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). VIIRS is a sensor that flies on...
2017 (approx.)
Curt Storlazzi of the USGS explains how the water cycle pulled him into oceanography, and how his personal interests parallel his profession.
2017 (approx.)
Getting Started with VIIRS Surface Reflectance Data Part 1: All About Accessing Data --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This video focuses on Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) surface reflectance data products created by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and distributed by the Land Processes...
July 30, 2017
A Record of Change—Science and Elder Observations on the Navajo Nation is a 25-minute documentary about collaborative studies using conventional physical sciences, combined with tribal elder observations to show that local knowledge and conventional science partnerships can effectively document ecosystem change and determine the resulting challenges to livelihoods. Sparse historic data on tribal...
July 27, 2017
Warm summers and short winters are thawing permafrost in the Siberian tundra, causing soil erosion. As a result, the 800 meter wide Batagaika crater continues to expand. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. Hyperlink: USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov...
July 20, 2017
Thermal satellite images are tracking A-68, a newly calved iceberg off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antartica. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. Hyperlink: USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov/ )
2017 (approx.)
Landsat Collections: Providing a Stable Environment Record for Time Series Analysis This is the second of a three-part video series describing the new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Collection 1 inventory structure. Collection 1 required the reprocessing of all archived Landsat data to achieve radiometric and geometric consistency of Level-1 products through time and across all Landsat...
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Painting - the construction of James Fort, by Sidney E. King
November 28, 2016

The Interior Department’s Climate Science Centers, managed by USGS, are helping the NPS pinpoint the specific impacts of climate change on parks and their cultural and natural resources. Doing so will help managers answer a critical question: which resources will require human intervention to ensure their continued existence?

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse, Cape Lookout National Seashore
November 18, 2016

The Interior Department’s Climate Science Centers, managed by USGS, are helping the National Park Service pinpoint the specific impacts of climate change on parks and their cultural and natural resources. Doing so will help managers answer a critical question: which resources will require human intervention to ensure their continued existence?

This picture was taken June 23, 2010 along the Louisiana shoreline in Barataria Bay and shows oil spilled from Deepwater Horizon
November 17, 2016

A new USGS-NASA study found widespread shoreline loss along heavily oiled areas of Louisiana's coast after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and compared the erosion from the spill with coastal changes Hurricane Isaac caused in 2012.

A group of Brook Trout swim through a stream.
November 16, 2016

A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.

USGS
October 31, 2016

Working together to advance international coordination of Earth observation programs

Paleoclimate Archives and Proxies
October 28, 2016

A new USGS Paleoclimate Research website details our latest research around the world in this intriguing field.