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: 69
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.

Photograph of the Middle Allequash stream site in winter, 2003
Date Published: March 28, 2016

USGS initiated the Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) program to understand the processes controlling water, energy, and biogeochemical fluxes over a range of temporal and spatial scales, and the effects of atmospheric and climatic variables. Trout Lake is one of five small, geographically and ecologically diverse watersheds representing a range of hydrologic and climatic...

Field observations of extreme sedimentation events
Date Published: March 22, 2016

Sediment deposition serves an important role in the long-term maintenance of coastal marshes. USGS investigates the mechanisms of coastal marsh elevation regulation to help predict marsh sediment requirements under various sea level rise scenarios. 

Understanding host-parasite and parasite consumer trophic relationships
Date Published: March 22, 2016
Status: Active

Marine reserves and protected areas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico encompass a variety of tropical ecosystems, including coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds, but questions remain regarding how effective these areas are at preserving and protecting the habitats and species they encompass. USGS and collaborators address this question by examining the biodiversity and food web...

Sediment Elevation Table assembly and field shelter, Dongting Lake, China
Date Published: March 18, 2016

Dongting Lake, one of the wetlands that make up the floodplains of China's Yangtze River, is important habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. However, the re-engineering of the water way and the intensification of agricultural practices has contributed to changes in hydrology and sedimentation. USGS and partners from China are assessing the potential impact of these changes to the...

A Decision Support Tool for Repatriation of Aquatic Fauna: A Case Study Involving the Striped Newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus) a
Date Published: April 17, 2015
Status: Completed

The Striped Newt is a small salamander found in xeric habitats (e.g., scrub, sandhill, dry flatwoods) of the lower coastal plain and northern peninsular Florida. Though once considered "common," they are currently a candidate species for federal listing. 

Trends in Streamflow and Comparisons With Instream Flows Report Cover
Date Published: January 6, 2004
Status: Completed

Knowing the interactions of ground water and river water can help reduce the fluctuation of water supplies in alluvial (sediment-deposit) river basins.

To develop general principles of these interactions in order to identify and analyze them, the USGS is reviewing the results of the numerous studies of these interactions in Pacific Northwest basins. The review will describe common...

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July 31, 2017

Getting Started with VIIRS Surface Reflectance Data Part 1

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...

July 31, 2017

Getting Started with VIIRS Surface Reflectance Data Part 2

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...

July 31, 2017

A Current Immersion

Curt Storlazzi of the USGS explains how the water cycle pulled him into oceanography, and how his personal interests parallel his profession.

July 30, 2017

A Record of Change: Science and Elder Observations on the Navajo N.

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...

July 27, 2017

Image of the Week: Batagaika Crater and the Megaslump

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 (...

July 20, 2017

Image of the Week: Iceberg Separates from Larsen C Ice Shelf

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...

June 30, 2017

Landsat Collections - RMSE

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...

June 30, 2017

7 Million Landsat Scenes & Counting!

More than 7 million Landsat satellite images now available.

Satellite image showing the Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Grand Canyon area
June 16, 2017

Satellite Image of the Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Grand Canyon Area

This image of the Las Vegas /Lake Mead / Grand Canyon area was acquired on June 16, 2017, with Indian Space Research Organization’s Resourcesat-2 AWiFS sensor. Images of this region can be useful to help detect changes in vegetation and water availability for growing desert communities.

June 12, 2017

Drought Refugia: Remote Sensing Approaches and Management Applications

This webinar was recorded on June 12, 2017 as part of the Climate Change Science and Management Webinar Series, held in partnership by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the USFWS National Conservation Training Center. Webinar Summary: During droughts, localized areas of the landscape (drought refugia) retain surface water and soil moisture needed to sustain...

May 31, 2017

LCMAP: Revolutionizing Remote Sensing

Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) - A new way of presenting where, how and why land change has occurred.

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Paleoclimate Archives and Proxies
October 28, 2016

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

Cyanobacterial bloom in Lake Okeechobee, FL (July 2016)
October 24, 2016

Building knowledge to protect ecological and human health

Artist’s rendition of Landsat 8 in orbit. NASA graphic.
October 11, 2016

Looking into the past to see the future on Earth Observation Day

Landsat 8 artist view
October 6, 2016

More data, better data, expanded applications

October 3, 2016

As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels.

Repeat oblique photographs of Gulkana glaciers in Alaska.
September 28, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America.

Dr. William Pecora, USGS Director, 1965-71
September 21, 2016

An annual award for outstanding achievement in remote sensing

Canyonlands National Park as seen by Landsat 8
September 21, 2016

Toward a space-based perspective of our planet in the 1960s

Ariel photo of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
September 20, 2016

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.