Paleoclimate science - its principles and importance to society
Biological proxies such as diatoms, foraminifers, ostracodes, and pollen allow scientists to make inferences about climate conditions in the past.Learn More
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
Significant damage to coastal communities and surrounding wetlands of the north Atlantic states was caused by Hurricane Sandy in late October 2012, mostly tied to an associated storm surge of record extent and impact.
Information Science staff help the National Office of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Centers and individual Climate Science Centers with a variety of project and data management activities, including storing, managing, and distributing datasets; building and maintaining metadata; discovering datasets; and delivering their data and metadata as web services through various...
USGS is committed to meeting the science needs of four Native American Tribes impacted by Hurricane Sandy in New England and New York: the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head - Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard, MA; the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on Cape Cod, MA; the Narragansett Indian Tribe near Charlestown, RI; and the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island....
This project will create a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana (Chitimacha), serving as an implementable plan for coastal community adaptation to climate change that can be used as a model in other small communities.
The interior marshes of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge (TTINWR) are currently negatively impacted by sea level rise through saltwater intrusion from the south which furthers mangrove encroachment into the freshwater marsh.
As Greater Everglades restoration project implementation progresses, wetlands in near coastal areas may undergo changes in salinity, hydroperiod, and water depth.
Field observations over recent decades have confirmed mangrove expansion landward in tropical zones and poleward in temperate saltmarsh settings around the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Storm surge waves and tides of hurricanes have the propensity to wash up marsh detritus of dead reeds and leaf debris along with plastic trash and lumber, commonly referred to as wrack, from overwashed beaches, marshes, forests, streets, and lawns.
As custodians of ecological goods and services valued by society, coastal National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) have an especially important role to play in helping socio-ecological systems adapt to global-change processes.
Climate change is widely acknowledged to be having a profound effect on the biosphere with many and diverse impacts on global resources. Mountain ecosystems in the western U.S. and the Northern Rockies in particular are highly sensitive to climate change. In fact, the higher elevations of the Northern Rockies have experienced three times the global average temperature increase over the past...
The science of dating growth rings and history of live and fossil wood samples is called dendrochronology. This technique is valuable for conducting climate reconstructions where meteorological data is lacking and for detecting past disturbance events such as tropical storms and hurricanes....
As tropical storms and hurricanes move onshore and make landfall, wind and storm surge can be sufficiently high to damage built-infrastructure and natural systems, most notably coastal forests at the interface of land and sea.
U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2015
2015 was another great year for the Department of the Interior (DOI) Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) network. The DOI CSCs and USGS NCCWSC continued their mission of providing the science, data, and tools that are needed for on-the-ground decision making...Varela Minder, Elda; Padgett, Holly A.
Semi-arid vegetation response to antecedent climate and water balance windows
Questions Can we improve understanding of vegetation response to water availability on monthly time scales in semi-arid environments using remote sensing methods? What climatic or water balance variables and antecedent windows of time associated with these variables best relate to the condition of vegetation? Can we develop credible near-term...Thoma, David P.; Munson, Seth M.; Irvine, Kathryn M.; Witwicki, Dana L.; Bunting, Erin
Earth as art 4
Landsat 8 is the latest addition to the long-running series of Earth-observing satellites in the Landsat program that began in 1972. The images featured in this fourth installment of the Earth As Art collection were all acquired by Landsat 8. They show our planet’s diverse landscapes with remarkable clarity.Landsat satellites see the Earth as no...
Earth as art 4 bookmark
Images from Landsat 8, launched in 2013, already stand out as stellar additions to our popular Earth As Art series. We are proud to present the fourth collection—Earth As Art 4!
A hierarchical model of daily stream temperature using air-water temperature synchronization, autocorrelation, and time lags
Water temperature is a primary driver of stream ecosystems and commonly forms the basis of stream classifications. Robust models of stream temperature are critical as the climate changes, but estimating daily stream temperature poses several important challenges. We developed a statistical model that accounts for many challenges that can make...Letcher, Benjamin; Hocking, Daniel; O'Neil, Kyle; Whiteley, Andrew R.; Nislow, Keith H.; O'Donnell, Matthew
Climate variables explain neutral and adaptive variation within salmonid metapopulations: The importance of replication in landscape genetics
Understanding how environmental variation influences population genetic structure is important for conservation management because it can reveal how human stressors influence population connectivity, genetic diversity and persistence. We used riverscape genetics modelling to assess whether climatic and habitat variables were related to neutral and...Hand, Brian K; Muhlfeld, Clint C.; Wade, Alisa A.; Kovach, Ryan; Whited, Diane C.; Narum, Shawn R.; Matala, Andrew P; Ackerman, Michael W.; Garner, B. A.; Kimball, John S; Stanford, Jack A.; Luikart, Gordon
Air- and stream-water-temperature trends in the Chesapeake Bay region, 1960-2014
Water temperature is a basic, but important, measure of the condition of all aquatic environments, including the flowing waters in the streams that drain our landscape and the receiving waters of those streams. Climatic conditions have a strong influence on water temperature, which is therefore naturally variable both in time and across the...Jastram, John D.; Rice, Karen C.
Summarizing components of U.S. Department of the Interior vulnerability assessments to focus climate adaptation planning
A secretarial order identified climate adaptation as a critical performance objective for future management of U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) lands and resources in response to global change. Vulnerability assessments can inform climate adaptation planning by providing insight into what natural resources are most at risk and why. Three...Thompson, Laura M.; Staudinger, Michelle D.; Carter, Shawn L.
Vulnerabilities and opportunities at the nexus of electricity, water and climate
The articles in this special issue examine the critical nexus of electricity, water, and climate, emphasizing connections among resources; the prospect of increasing vulnerabilities of water resources and electricity generation in a changing climate; and the opportunities for research to inform integrated energy and water policy and...Frumhoff, Peter; Burkett, Virginia; Jackson, Robert B.; Newmark, Robin; Overpeck, Jonathan; Webber, Michael
Coastal and wetland ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay watershed: Applying palynology to understand impacts of changing climate, sea level, and land use
The mid-Atlantic region and Chesapeake Bay watershed have been influenced by fluctuations in climate and sea level since the Cretaceous, and human alteration of the landscape began ~12,000 years ago, with greatest impacts since colonial times. Efforts to devise sustainable management strategies that maximize ecosystem services are integrating data...Willard, Debra A.; Bernhardt, Christopher E.; Hupp, Cliff R.; Newell, Wayne
From icefield to ocean - Explore the many ways that glaciers influence Alaska's Coastal Ecosystems.
No abstract available.O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Timm, Kristin
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 world’s oceans are vital to life on Earth. They provide food, moderate the climate, water the land, and drive the local and global economy. But the living conditions and resources in the enormous water masses of the open ocean have been mostly unknown and unmapped.
While freshwater ecosystems cover only a small amount of the land surface in Alaska, they transport and emit a significant amount of carbon, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. An invited feature article for Ecological Applications provides the first-ever major aquatic carbon flux assessment for the entire state. Carbon flux refers to the rate of carbon transfer between pools.
Today, Landsat shows us the evolution of the coal industry near North America & North Dakota’s Center...
In this week's Landsat view, Landsat 5 and Landsat 8 show how significant Cambodia's deforestation has been in the last few decades.
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.
Our image of the week is of Ethiopia’s erupting Gateway to Hell.
A new study published in Global Change Biology this week compares analytical frameworks for conducting ecological climate change impact assessments.
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.
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.
Landsat gives us a view of one of the worst wildfires in Chile's history.
“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.”
See a decade of California drought ease in this EarthView from Landsat.