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: 64
Seaplane asset with camera mount and portal to accomplish post-hurricane reconnaissance missions
May 2, 2016

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
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
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
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
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...

Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC) Climate Scenarios and Species Vulnerability Assessment
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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: 39
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

Year Published: 2009

Late Cenozoic geology and lacustrine history of Searles Valley, Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, California

Searles Valley is an arid, closed basin lying 70 km east of the south end of the Sierra Nevada, California. It is bounded on the east and northeast by the Slate Range, on the west by the Argus Range and Spangler Hills, and on the south by the Lava Mountains; Searles (dry) Lake occupies the north-central part of the valley. During those parts of...

Smith, George I.
Late Cenozoic Geology and Lacustrine History of Searles Valley, Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, California; 2009; PP; 1727; Smith, George I.

Year Published: 2008

Modeling and dynamic monitoring of ecosystem performance in the Yukon River Basin

Central Alaska is ecologically sensitive and experiencing stress in response to marked regional warming. Resource managers would benefit from an improved ability to monitor ecosystem processes in response to climate change, fire, insect damage, and management policies and to predict responses to future climate scenarios. We have developed a method...

Wylie, B.K.; Zhang, L.; Ji, L.; Tieszen, L.L.; Bliss, N.B.
Modeling and Dynamic Monitoring of Ecosystem Performance in the Yukon River Basin; 2008; FS; 2008-3016; Wylie, B. K.; Zhang, L.; Ji, L.; Tieszen, L. L.; Bliss, N. B.

Filter Total Items: 114
March 21, 2017
This webinar was recorded as part of the Climate Change Science and Management Webinar Series (hosted in partnership by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and FWS National Conservation Training Center). Webinar Summary: Accurate information on the atmospheric evaporative demand (i.e., thirst of the atmosphere) and the land-surface evaporative response (i.e., moisture...
February 28, 2017
The distribution of water on the landscape influences many ecological functions such as the distribution of vegetation, soil development and the cycle of chemical nutrients. All of these functions are subject to change as a result of variations in the duration of soil water saturation and flow of water through the distributed channel networks of watersheds. The landscape of the Pacific coastal...
2017 (approx.)
Getting Started with MODIS Version 6 Surface Reflectance Data Part 2: Using the Data This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Surface Reflectance data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about the definition of “Surface...
2017 (approx.)
Getting Started with MODIS Version 6 Surface Reflectance Data Part 1: All About Accessing Data This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Surface Reflectance data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about the MODIS Version 6...
Satellite image showing the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay region
January 25, 2017
This Indian Space Research Organization LISS-3 image of the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay region, acquired on January 25, 2017, shows the landscape along the densely populated U.S. East coast. Ecosystems and sea-level rise are among the regional landscape changes that satellite imagery helps to monitor.
Closed canopy plantation
2016 (approx.)
Example of a closed canopy plantation logged 60 years ago at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon, old growth forests have bigger trees and a more complex understory.
USGS staff ski to and from  the Garden Wall weather station in Glacier National Park (elev. 7400 feet).
2016 (approx.)
USGS staff ski to and from the Garden Wall weather station in Glacier National Park (elev. 7400 feet) to complete maintenance and examine the snowpack for avalanche research.
2016 (approx.)
This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 land data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). This video will cover how to learn more about MODIS Version 6 data using the LP DAAC website, the MODIS file naming convention, and the external...
A landscape view of the "Devil's Backbone" near Loveland, CO
2016 (approx.)
A landscape view of the "Devil's Backbone" near Loveland, CO.
USGS employees and Flathead National Forest staff dig pits in the snow to examine snow structure and depth in Montana.
2016 (approx.)
USGS employees and Flathead National Forest staff dig pits in the snow to examine snow structure and depth for avalanche research and forecasting in northwest Montana.
Filter Total Items: 166
Dr. Christian Zimmerman, USGS Alaska Science Center Director
February 1, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

Image shows a satellite view of the Okomu Forest of Nigeria
January 26, 2017

As part of a new atlas of imagery for West Africa, nearly 33 years of land-use change can be seen in Nigeria's Okomu Forest Reserve.

Wading birds feed near wooden posts marking a research site in a Louisiana salt marsh
January 25, 2017

Changes in rainfall and temperature are predicted to transform wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world within the century, a new study from the USGS and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley concludes.

Aerial view of the caldera of Mt Tambora, island of Sumbawa, Indonesia.
January 18, 2017

Hundreds of articles have been written about the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, at Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora just over 200 years ago. But for a small group of New England-based researchers, one more Tambora story needed to be told, one related to its catastrophic effects in the Gulf of Maine that may carry lessons for intertwined human-natural systems facing climate change today.

Map of Chesapeake Bay and Its Tributaries Showing Sediment Sources and Core Sites 1995-2006
January 17, 2017

Richard Batiuk got to know the Chesapeake Bay in the early 1970s. During visits with his friends and family, they would swim and boat, and fish would practically jump aboard. He was young but knew he wanted to live and work on the bay.

Weakened livestock, West Arsi, Ethiopia
December 15, 2016

Monitoring drought vital to success of humanitarian relief