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
Seaplane asset with camera mount and portal to accomplish post-hurricane reconnaissance missions
Date Published: May 2, 2016
Status: Active

High resolution imagery (aerial videography) was obtained of Hurricane Sandy to assess forest damage by documenting disturbed canopy and downed trees. 

Hurricane Sandy storm surge map
Date Published: April 18, 2016

Detection of storm surge impacts on coastal marshes requires regional or broader mapping of surge flooding above and below the wetland canopy and estimation of abnormal change in wetland condition.

Nuket Bingol measuring Sediment Elevation Table, Porsuk River floodplain, Eskisehir, Turkey
Date Published: April 18, 2016

The Porsuk River floodplain near Eskisehir, Turkey contains a large number of wetlands, which have been managed by humans for millennia.

Swamp tree growth study sites on the southern United States
Date Published: April 18, 2016

This study will examine the potential effects of climate-change-induced sea level rise, drought and water extraction by examining tree growth patterns across the Gulf Coast, specifically targeting long-term research plots available in the North American Baldcypress Swamp Network (NABCSN) and the Suwannee River.

Climate Envelope Modeling for Evaluating Anticipated Effects of Climate Change on Threatened and Endangered Species
Date Published: April 17, 2016

Modeling both potential changes in climate and responses of species and habitats can increase certainty in management decisions by helping managers to understand the range of possible species and habitat responses under different alternative futures. Climate envelope modeling is one type of modeling that can be useful in understanding species and habitat responses to climate change because it...

Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC) Climate Scenarios and Species Vulnerability Assessment
Date Published: April 17, 2016

Peninsular Florida is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in the United States. With complex socioeconomic and ecology dynamics and a large number of governing agencies involved in conservation planning, USGS worked to created an appropriate framework for landscape conservation cooperative-scale decision-making across current conservation planning agencies and jurisdictions...

Coral Bleaching and Disease: Effects on Threatened Corals and Reefs
Date Published: April 17, 2016

Severe coral bleaching in 2005, followed by a disease outbreak, resulted in severe reef degradation in the US Virgin Islands; the amount of living coral cover at long-term monitoring sites decreased an average of 60%. With climate change, high seawater temperatures are expected to lead to more frequent bleaching episodes and possibly more disease outbreaks. 

Macroclimatic Controls of Coastal Wetland Ecosystem Structure and Function
Date Published: April 17, 2016

At the global-scale, macroclimatic drivers govern ecosystem structure and function in tidal saline wetlands (e.g., salt marshes, mangrove forests, salt flats). However, global reviews and models for these ecosystems typically do not directly include climatic drivers. The objective of this research is to examine and forecast the effects of macroclimatic drivers on wetland ecosystem structure...

Geographical Trends in Ecosystem Function and Biodiversity of Wetlands as a Surrogate for Climate Change
Date Published: April 17, 2016

Extreme drought and temperature in the southeastern United States may become more frequent in the future, and any  extreme shifts in climate condition are likely to have effects on wetland ecosystem function. USGS research predicts the effects of climate change by shifts in function and biodiversity across existing  climate gradients in baldcypress swamps. 

Past and Future Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Coastal Habitats and Species
Date Published: April 16, 2016

USGS aims to integrate biological and hydrological models to help develop management tools to deal with the projected ecological consequences of rising sea level in coastal south Florida.

Climate Change Effects on Coastal Marsh Foundation Species
Date Published: April 16, 2016

Mangrove forests have migrated inland over the past few decades at many locations along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. This expansion has been attributed to factors associated with climate change, such as increased salinity resulting from sea-level rise and longer intervals between winter freezes, which can kill cold-intolerant mangrove species. 

Raw imagery from the Falcon using a sony ILCE-5100 sensor.
Date Published: April 13, 2016

The USGS National UAS Project Office supports the safe, efficient, and cost-effective adoption of UAS technology into the research and operational activities of the DOI.

Filter Total Items: 42
Year Published: 2014

Chemical mixtures in potable water in the U.S.

In recent years, regulators have devoted increasing attention to health risks from exposure to multiple chemicals. In 1996, the US Congress directed the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study mixtures of chemicals in drinking water, with a particular focus on potential interactions affecting chemicals' joint toxicity. The task is...

Ryker, Sarah J.
SJ Ryker, 2013, Chemical Mixtures in Potable Water in the U.S.: Comprehensive Water Quality and Purification vol. 1, Status and Trends of Water Quality Worldwide, Elsevier, ed. S Ahuja, 267-277.

Year Published: 2014

The impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems: chapter 6

In this chapter we stress two important features of coasts and coastal ecosystems. First, these are dynamic systems which continually undergo adjustments, especially through erosion and re-deposition, in response to a range of processes. Many coastal ecosystems adjust naturally at a range of time scales and their potential for response is examined...

Burkett, Virginia; Woodroffe, Colin D.; Nicholls, Robert J.; Forbes, Donald L.
The impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems: chapter 6; 2014; Book chapter; Book; Oceans and human health: implications for society and well-being; Burkett, Virginia; Woodroffe, Colin D.; Nicholls, Robert J.; Forbes, Donald L.

Year Published: 2014

Perception, experience, and indigenous knowledge of climate change and variability: the case of Accra, a sub-Saharan African city

Several recent international assessments have concluded that climate change has the potential to reverse the modest economic gains achieved in many developing countries over the past decade. The phenomenon of climate change threatens to worsen poverty or burden populations with additional hardships, especially in poor societies with weak...

Codjoe, Samuel N.A.; Owusu, George; Burkett, Virginia
Perception, experience, and indigenous knowledge of climate change and variability: the case of Accra, a sub-Saharan African city; 2014; Article; Journal; Regional Environmental Change; Codjoe, Samuel N.A.; Owusu, George; Burkett, Virginia

Year Published: 2014

Uncertainty and extreme events in future climate and hydrologic projections for the Pacific Northwest: providing a basis for vulnerability and core/corridor assessments

The purpose of this project was to (1) provide an internally-consistent set of downscaled projections across the Western U.S., (2) include information about projection uncertainty, and (3) assess projected changes of hydrologic extremes. These objectives were designed to address decision support needs for climate adaptation and resource...

Littell, Jeremy S.; Mauger, Guillaume S.; Salathe, Eric P.; Hamlet, Alan F.; Lee, Se-Yeun; Stumbaugh, Matt R.; Elsner, Marketa; Norheim, Robert; Lutz, Eric R.; Mantua, Nathan J.
Uncertainty and extreme events in future climate and hydrologic projections for the Pacific Northwest: providing a basis for vulnerability and core/corridor assessments; 2014; Organization Series; Littell, Jeremy S.; Mauger, Guillaume S.; Salathe, Eric P.; Hamlet, Alan F.; Lee, Se-Yeun; Stumbaugh, Matt R.; Elsner, Marketa; Norheim, Robert; Lutz, Eric R.; Mantua, Nathan J.

Year Published: 2013

Executive summary: Climate change in the northwest: Implications for our landscapes, waters, and communities

Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for Our Landscapes, Waters, and Communities is aimed at assessing the state of knowledge about key climate impacts and consequences to various sectors and communities in the northwest United States. It draws on a wealth of peer-reviewed literature, earlier state-level assessment reports conducted for...

Dalton, Meghan M.; Bethel, Jeffrey; Capalbo, Susan M.; Cuhaciyan, J.E.; Eigenbrode, Sanford D.; Glick, Patty; Houston, Laurie L.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Lynn, Kathy; Mote, Philip W.; Raymondi, Rick R.; Reeder, W. Spencer; Shafer, Sarah L.; Snover, Amy K.
Executive summary: Climate change in the northwest: Implications for our landscapes, waters, and communities; 2013; Book chapter; Book; Climate change in the northwest: Implications for our landscapes, waters, and communities; Dalton, Meghan M.; Bethel, Jeffrey; Capalbo, Susan M.; Cuhaciyan, J. E.; Eigenbrode, Sanford D.; Glick, Patty; Houston, Laurie L.; Littell, Jeremy S.; Lynn, Kathy; Mote, Philip W.; Raymondi, Rick R.; Reeder, W. Spencer; Shafer, Sarah L.; Snover, Amy K.

Year Published: 2013

Choosing and using climate change scenarios for ecological-impact assessments and conservation decisions

Increased concern over climate change is demonstrated by the many efforts to assess climate effects and develop adaptation strategies. Scientists, resource managers, and decision makers are increasingly expected to use climate information, but they struggle with its uncertainty. With the current proliferation of climate simulations and downscaling...

Amy K. Snover; Nathan J. Mantua; Littell, Jeremy; Michael A. Alexander; Michelle M. McClure; Janet Nye

Year Published: 2013

Forest ecosystems: Vegetation, disturbance, and economics: Chapter 5

Forests cover about 47% of the Northwest (NW–Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) (Smith et al. 2009, fig. 5.1, table 5.1). The impacts of current and future climate change on NW forest ecosystems are a product of the sensitivities of ecosystem processes to climate and the degree to which humans depend on and interact with those systems. Forest...

Littell, Jeremy S.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Shafer, Sarah L.; Capalbo, Susan M.; Houston, Laurie L.; Glick, Patty
Forest ecosystems: Vegetation, disturbance, and economics: Chapter 5; 2013; Book chapter; Book; Climate Change in the Northwest: Implications for Our Landscapes, Waters, and Communities; Littell, Jeremy S.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Shafer, Sarah L.; Capalbo, Susan M.; Houston, Laurie L.; Glick, Patty

Year Published: 2013

A high-resolution bioclimate map of the world: a unifying framework for global biodiversity research and monitoring

Aim: To develop a novel global spatial framework for the integration and analysis of ecological and environmental data. Location: The global land surface excluding Antarctica. Methods: A broad set of climate-related variables were considered for inclusion in a quantitative model, which partitions geographic space into bioclimate regions....

Metzger, Marc J.; Bunce, Robert G.H.; Jongman, Rob H.G.; Sayre, Roger G.; Trabucco, Antonio; Zomer, Robert
A high-resolution bioclimate map of the world: a unifying framework for global biodiversity research and monitoring; 2013; Article; Journal; Global Ecology and Biogeography; Metzger, Marc J.; Bunce, Robert G. H.; Jongman, Rob H. G.; Sayre, Roger ; Trabucco, Antonio ; Zomer, Robert

Year Published: 2013

Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Amery Ice Shelf area, Antarctica: 1961–2004

Reduction in the area and volume of Earth’s two polar ice sheets is intricately linked to changes in global climate and to the resulting rise in sea level. Measurement of changes in area and mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet was given a very high priority in recommendations by the Polar Research Board of the National Research Council. On the...

Foley, Kevin M.; Ferrigno, Jane G.; Swithinbank, Charles; Williams, Richard S.; Orndorff, Audrey L.
Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Amery Ice Shelf area, Antarctica: 1961–2004; 2013; I; 2600-Q; Foley, Kevin M.; Ferrigno, Jane G.; Swithinbank, Charles ; Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Orndorff, Audrey L.

Year Published: 2013

Water quality status and trends in the United States

Information about water quality is vital to ensure long-term availability and sustainability of water that is safe for drinking and recreation and suitable for industry, irrigation, fish, and wildlife. Protecting and enhancing water quality is a national priority, requiring information on water-quality status and trends, progress toward clean...

Ahuja, Satinder; Larsen, Matthew C.; Hamilton, Pixie A.; Werkheiser, William H.

Year Published: 2012

Coastal impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment

The coast has long provided communities with a multitude of benefits including an abundance of natural resources that sustain economies, societies, and ecosystems. Coasts provide natural harbors for commerce, trade, and transportation; beaches and shorelines that attract residents and tourists; and wetlands and estuaries that are critical for...

Burkett, Virginia; Davidson, Margaret; Burkett, Virginia; Davidson, Margaret
Coastal impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment; 2012; Book; Book series; National Climate Assessment regional technical input reports; edited by Burkett, Virginia; Davidson, Margaret

Year Published: 2012

Gender and occupational perspectives on adaptation to climate extremes in the Afram Plains of Ghana

Although sub-Saharan Africa does not contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, significant adverse impacts of climate change are anticipated in this region. Countries in West Africa, which are heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture, are projected to experience more frequent and intense droughts, altered rainfall patterns and...

Codjoe, Samuel N.A.; Atidoh, Lucy K.; Burkett, Virginia
Gender and occupational perspectives on adaptation to climate extremes in the Afram Plains of Ghana; 2012; Article; Journal; Climatic Change; Codjoe, Samuel N.A.; Atidoh, Lucy K.; Burkett, Virginia

Filter Total Items: 153
September 19, 2017
This is the third video in a 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 sensors. This video explains how Landsat Collection Level-1 data products are organized into one of...
September 15, 2017
Hurricane Irma's full force hit the small island of Barbuda, damaging estimated 95% of structures. 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/ )
Panoramic image from Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park showing smoke from forest fires.
September 12, 2017
Panoramic image from Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park showing smoke from forest fires. Information gathered by the USGS managed Sperry Weather Station are being used by regional fire managers to forecast fire weather and future fire behavior.
USGS weather station repair operations in Glacier NP.
September 12, 2017
Crews perform repairs on the Sperry Weather Station as part of Fire Operations in Glacier National Park. Information gathered by the USGS managed Sperry Weather Station are being used by regional fire managers to forecast fire weather and future fire behavior during the 2017 fire season.
USGS scientist doing weather station repairs in Glacier National Park.
September 12, 2017
USGS scientist Erich Peitzsch does repair on the Sperry Weather Station in Glacier National Park. Information gathered by the USGS managed Sperry Weather Station are being used by regional fire managers to forecast fire weather and future fire behavior during the 2017 fire season.
September 8, 2017
Hurricane Harvey dumped over 50 inches of rain near Houston, leaving extensive flooding throughout the area. 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 31, 2017
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th. Over the next few days, record rain totals had devastated the area. 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 28, 2017
Gypsy Moth populations are at their highest levels since the 1980s, causing damage to hardwood trees in the New England area. 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 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...
Filter Total Items: 178
Image shows a satellite view of forests in Cambodia.
March 24, 2017

In this week's Landsat view, Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 show how significant Cambodia's deforestation has been in the last few decades.

Illustration of Landsat 7 in orbit
March 24, 2017

Access to consistent high-quality images to study changes on Earth’s surface is getting easier. The USGS Landsat standard (Level-1) product inventory is now structured by data quality and offers improved calibration. Data designated as Tier 1 provide the highest accuracy and can be reliably used to analyze changes to Earth’s surface over time.

Illustration of Landsat 7 in orbit
February 27, 2017

On Tuesday, February 7, Landsat 7’s Flight Operations Team fired the spacecraft’s 1-pound thrusters for about 13 minutes. After a pause of about 7½ hours, the thrusters fired a second time for about 13 minutes.This was the last such maneuver for Landsat 7 and the beginning of the end for the satellite, which has provided images of the earth’s changing resources for more than 17 years. 

USGS
February 23, 2017

Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.  This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, bringing relatively early ‘signs of spring’ to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.

Spring 2017 Advances Very Early in Much of the USA
February 23, 2017

Get your flip-flops and shorts out because spring is arriving very early this year . . . at least 2-3 weeks early across almost the entire Southeast, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.  This unusually early spring is likely to keep rolling north, already bringing surprising signs of spring to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.

Illustration of Landsat 7 in orbit
February 13, 2017

“We’re seeing the loss of forests in many places,” said Matthew Hansen, a professor at the University of Maryland. “Dynamics include increasing tropical deforestation, more frequent and severe boreal forest fires, disease in temperate forests and the commoditization of subtropical forests.”

Photo of an active oil and gas pad on Bureau of Land Management lands near Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
February 7, 2017

A new scientific approach can now provide regional assessments of land recovery following oil and gas drilling activities, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.