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
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. ...

Getting the shot of Blackfoot Glacier, GNP.
April 6, 2016

Climate change research in Glacier National Park, Montana entails many methods of documenting the landscape change, including the decline of the parks namesake glaciers. While less quantitative than other high-tech methods of recording glacial mass, depth, and rate of retreat, repeat photography has become a valuable tool for communicating effects of global warming. With evidence of worldwide...

Image: Shepard Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana - 2005
April 6, 2016

Worldwide glacial glacier recession is well documented (1,2) and varied model projections suggest that certain studied GNP glaciers will disappear in the next few decades, between 2030 (3) to 2080 (4).  USGS scientists in Glacier National Park are collaborating with glaciologist from Alaska and Washington and using...

Setting up a weather station in Glacier National Park
April 6, 2016

Glacier National Park is a topographically diverse region, making localized effects of elevation, aspect, and cold air drainage several of many important factors that necessitate a diversity of long-term climate monitoring sites. Additionally, many studies have shown more rapid warming at higher elevations across the Intermountain West, but with relatively few high-elevation stations available...

Image: Getting the Shot, Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park.
April 6, 2016

Repeat photography is being used by the CCME program to document landscape change. Glaciers have been the primary focus of this park-wide survey and this collection of repeat photographs, available for download on the CCME website, have been used to illustrate the effects of climate change in venues across the globe. These powerful images, with their inherent ease of interpretation, have...

Avalanche forecasters ski out to investigate the crown of a large wet slab avalanche in Haystack Creek drainage. This drainage i
April 5, 2016

Since 1991, CCME staff have conducted snow surveys throughout Glacier National Park. These data have contributed to regional climate change and hydrologic models. Snowpack characteristics have also been evaluated in relation to avalanche forecasting and plowing of GNP’s Going to the Sun Road efforts. Studies of natural snow avalanches reveal connections with large-scale climate and...

Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park.
April 5, 2016

The Secondary Glacier Network includes six glaciers (Chaney, Grinnell, Stanton, Agassiz, Swiftcurrent, Jackson-Blackfoot Glaciers) that form a north-south transect of approx. 60 km through the region, with Sperry Glacier just south of center. While these glaciers will be monitored less frequently than the benchmark glacier, Sperry, this network will provide data about the variability of...

Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park.
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.
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
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
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. ...

Filter Total Items: 131
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.
2016 (approx.)
This video will provide a brief history and purpose for one of the oldest streamgages in Indiana. The gage is at the Wabash River at Lafayette, Indiana. The site number is 03335500. This video was produced at the request of the West Lafayette Parks Department where this historic gage is located. A QR code is displayed on an interpretive plaque next to the gage which is located in a high profile...
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.
Alaska Interior mountain range shot with snow capped mountains.
2016 (approx.)
Alaska Interior mountain range shot with snow capped mountains.
2016 (approx.)
Did you know that tree canopy cover can be measured from space? The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor onboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites can do just that by providing data that are used to calculate Leaf Area Index (LAI). LAI is a measurement of green leaf area in broadleaf tree canopies and needle surface area in coniferous tree canopies. This data visualization...
Loveland Pass Colorado
2016 (approx.)
A view of the highway going over Loveland Pass in Colorado.
2016 (approx.)
The Department of the Interior Pacific Islands Climate Science Center and the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo developed and hosted a Climate Change Boot Camp that showcased collaborative research efforts within UH Hilo’s Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science graduate program that are driven by local natural resource managers across Hawaiʻi Island. The event took place at the...
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.
Recording information during a point count
2016 (approx.)
Sarah Frey, a Northwest Climate Science Center graduate fellow at Oregon State University, records information during a point count at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon.
The Garden Wall weather station in Glacier National Park (elev. 7400 feet) is used for avalanche research and forecasting.
2016 (approx.)
The Garden Wall weather station in Glacier National Park (elev. 7400 feet) is used for avalanche research and forecasting along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It records air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and incoming and outgoing shortwave and longwave radiation.
Filter Total Items: 170
USGS logo
October 31, 2016

Working together to advance international coordination of Earth observation programs

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.