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: 114
2016 (approx.)
This tutorial shows you how to do a bulk download of satellite imagery using EarthExplorer. The website can be found at earthexplorer.usgs.gov .
Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park
2016 (approx.)
Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard. Between October and March, it is the first place to view the sunrise in the United States. Alex Bryan, a climatologist with the DOI Northeast Climate Science Center (managed by USGS) is implementing scenario planning techniques to help Acadia National Park identify potential future climate conditions, enabling...
Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park
2016 (approx.)
Jordan Pond, a mountain lake in Acadia National Park formed by a glacier and known for its clear waters. In the distance are two small peaks known as “The Bubbles”. Alex Bryan, a climatologist with the DOI Northeast Climate Science Center (managed by USGS) is implementing scenario planning techniques to help Acadia National Park identify potential future climate conditions, enabling managers to...
Photo of USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examining instrumentation to measure photosynthetic rates of biocrusts.
September 29, 2016
USGS scientist Jayne Belnap examines instrumentation to measure photosynthetic rates of 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...
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...
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...
Filter Total Items: 166
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

Ariel photo of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
September 20, 2016

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.