Mission Areas

Climate and Land Use Change

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

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: 62
Photograph of bats
April 11, 2016

Researchers develop spatially-explicit models of ecosystem extent and functioning, and methodologies for the assessment of ecosystem goods and services, with an emphasis on understanding how they respond to changing landscape and climatic conditions.

Land Change in LCC regions
April 11, 2016

Scientific study of land use and land cover change at multiple scales, documenting geographic variability of change and defining the environmental, social, technological, and political drivers of change, as well as assessing the impacts of these changes.

Rookery Bay NERR, FL, USA
April 8, 2016

Hydrologic restoration is one of several approaches to rehabilitate mangroves on a large-scale. USGS evaluates how solely restoring tidal hydrologic flows affect the recovery of mangroves in Florida. ...

Elevated CO2 Facility, WARC, Lafayette, LA, USA
April 8, 2016

Wetlands have the potential to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide via photosynthesis, and flooded soils have low oxygen levels which decrease rates of decomposition to promote the retention of soil carbon. However, the type of greenhouse gases emitted from wetlands varies by wetland type and soil condition. A suite of approaches are being used to assess  fluxes of greenhouses...

Strawberry Swamp, Hobcaw Barony, SC, USA
April 8, 2016

USGS investigates the eco-physiological responses of coastal forested wetland vegetation to envrionmental stressors, and what role vegetation may have in affecting local hydrological cycling as a result of these stressors. ...

Figure 1. Major study areas of the TFFW vegetation modeling system (Krauss et al., 2009)
April 8, 2016

As tidal freshwater forested wetlands - TFFWs - are influenced by salinty due to salt water intrusion, they may experience changes in plant community composition, growth, and productivity. Models are needed to predict vegetation community change or dieback, as well as changes in carbon sequestration and storage due to changing climate, drought, changes in freshwater discharge, elevated carbon...

Sampit River, SC, USA
April 8, 2016

Tidal freshwater forested wetlands - TFFWs - can be found in the upper intertidal areas of many estuaries and act as a transition between coastal marshes and bottomland hardwood wetlands. However, it is because of their location that makes them vulnerable to sea-level rise, and they are constantly transitioning to different wetland types. USGS addresses how various processes are affected in...

Tidally Influenced Freshwater Forested Wetlands
April 8, 2016

Wetlands in river deltas - like the Mississippi River Delta Plain - may be more vulnerable to sea-level rise. Historically, coastal wetlands responded to these changes by increasing surface elevation or migrating up-slope. USGS conducts research to identify the biogeochemical influences on sediment addition in coastal wetland areas. ...

Controlled greenhouse experiments manipulating the marsh elevation and flood duration
April 8, 2016

Sudden Marsh Dieback - SMD - has been documented for the past two decades throughout coastal areas of the United States. With these large-scale diebacks comes the loss of ecosystem functions and services. USGS scientsts use field work and greenhouse studies to investigate the factors that control the resilience and resistance of coastal salt marshes to SMD. ...

Evelyn Anemaet using an RTK to determine elevation of tidal swamp near the mouth of the Pocomoke River, MD
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
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. ...

Collecting surface elevation table (SET) data from mangroves
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. ...

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Forest ecosystems: Vegetation, disturbance, and economics: Chapter 5
Year Published: 2013

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

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
A high-resolution bioclimate map of the world: a unifying framework for global biodiversity research and monitoring
Year Published: 2013

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

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
Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Amery Ice Shelf area, Antarctica: 1961–2004
Year Published: 2013

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

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.
Coastal impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment
Year Published: 2012

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

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
Gender and occupational perspectives on adaptation to climate extremes in the Afram Plains of Ghana
Year Published: 2012

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

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
Late Cenozoic geology and lacustrine history of Searles Valley, Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, California
Year Published: 2009

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

Smith, George I.
Late Cenozoic Geology and Lacustrine History of Searles Valley, Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, California; 2009; PP; 1727; Smith, George I.
Modeling and dynamic monitoring of ecosystem performance in the Yukon River Basin
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.

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.
Acid rain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Year Published: 2007

Acid rain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Visitors to Shenandoah National Park (SNP) enjoy the animal and plant life and the scenery but may not realize how vulnerable these features are to various threats, such as invasion of exotic plants and insects, improper use of park resources by humans, and air and water pollution. The National Park Service strives to protect natural resources...

Rice, Karen C.; Deviney, Frank A.; Olson, Gordon
Acid rain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia; 2007; FS; 2007-3057; Rice, Karen C.; Deviney, Frank A., Jr.; Olson, Gordon
Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Trinity Peninsula area and south Shetland Islands, Antarctica: 1843-2001: Chapter A in Coastal-change and glaciological maps of Antarctica
Year Published: 2006

Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Trinity Peninsula area and south Shetland Islands, Antarctica: 1843-2001: Chapter A in Coastal-change and glaciological maps of Antarctica

Ferrigno, Jane G.; Cook, Alison J.; Foley, Kevin M.; Williams, Richard S.; Swithinbank, Charles; Fox, Adrian J.; Thomson, Janet W.; Sievers, Jorn
Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Trinity Peninsula area and south Shetland Islands, Antarctica: 1843-2001: Chapter A in <i>Coastal-change and glaciological maps of Antarctica</i>; 2006; I; 2600-A; Coastal-change and glaciological maps of Antarctica: IMAP 2600; Ferrigno, Jane G.; Cook, Alison J.; Foley, Kevin M.; Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Swithinbank, Charles; Fox, Adrian J.; Thomson, Janet W.; Sievers, Jorn
Dust storms and their impact on ocean and human health: dust in Earth's atmosphere
Year Published: 2004

Dust storms and their impact on ocean and human health: dust in Earth's atmosphere

Griffin, Dale W.; Kellog, Christina A.
Dust storms and their impact on ocean and human health: dust in Earth's atmosphere; 2004; Article; Journal; EcoHealth; Griffin, Dale W.; Kellog, Christina A.
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Photo of outdoor testing plots where biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time.
September 26, 2016
USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun. Arid and semiarid...
Photo of USGS scientist Sasha Reed studying outdoor biocrust testing sites
September 26, 2016
USGS scientist Sasha Reed studies sites where different climate conditions are being mimicked to determine effect on biocrusts. Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new USGS study.
Photo of Biocrust outdoor testing plots
September 26, 2016
USGS scientists created outdoor testing plots where large squares of biocrusts were exposed to different warming and precipitation factors over time. Researchers not only looked at how the biocrusts responded, but also measured the amount of energy that the different biocrust communities reflected back into the atmosphere relative to how much energy came in from the sun. Arid and semiarid...
August 2016 (approx.)
This video focuses on the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center’s (LP DAAC) Data Pool and DAAC2Disk. The Data Pool provides direct access to the publicly available data products from the LP DAAC archive. DAAC2Disk enables users to download multiple data products from the Data Pool using a web-based interface, as a script executed from the command line. Data products accessible from...
August 29, 2016
From development and land cover differences to elevation, many factors influence land surface temperature (LST) dynamics. The Earth’s surface temperature can be measured using LST data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Aqua and Terra satellites and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and...
July 21, 2016
Webinar Summary: The Wind River Reservation in west-central Wyoming is home of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes. The reservation has experienced severe drought impacts on Tribal livelihoods and cultural activities in recent years. Scientists from the North Central Climate Science Center, the National Drought Mitigation Center, the High Plains Regional Climate Center, and multiple...
Landsat 1992 vs 2010 Pine Beetle Assault on Forest E.of Salt Lake City.
2016 (approx.)
Landsat image taken in 1992 shows the Uinta Mountains east of Salt Lake City. The shades of dark green indicate healthy, undisturbed forest. Landsat image of the same area in 2010 captures the dramatic assault of mountain pine beetles. The dark red stains reveal widespread pine beetle destruction.
June 15, 2016
What inspired a USGS geologist to study how dam removal changes rivers. Profile of Amy East.
Scientist inspecting permafrost
June 2016 (approx.)
USGS scientist Neal Pastick inspects a permafrost plot in North Slope of Alaska near Galbraith Lake.
Scientist laying cable in a field
June 2016 (approx.)
USGS scientist Burke Minsley and project partners from the U. Alaska Fairbanks lay ground cable to measure permafrost depth at Nome Creek site north of Fairbanks, Alaska.
May 2016 (approx.)
On the remote western coast of Australia lies a UNESCO World Heritage Site above and below the sea. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Western Australia convened here at Ningaloo Reef and Jurabi Coastal Reserve to embark on the most extensive study EVER done into how coral reefs shape our coasts.
April 2016 (approx.)
This short clip is representative of a large amount of video footage of an adult female polar bear, equipped with a point of view camera, that is used by scientists to study polar bear behavior and feeding rates. Camera were attached to 10 animals in the southern Beaufort Sea over the course of several years, and stay on the animals for about 2 weeks until it is retrieved by scientists. No bears...
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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

USGS logo
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