Mission Areas

Climate and Land Use Change

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USGS biologist Gretchen Roffler weighs a newborn caribou calf in Denali National Park, Alaska
2015 (approx.)
USGS biologist Gretchen Roffler weighs a newborn caribou calf in Denali National Park, Alaska.
Scientist collects samples from a temporary wooden platform in a New Jersey salt marsh
2015 (approx.)
Caption: USGS scientist Zafer Defne measures water and sediment movement at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey. Defne is co-author with USGS' Neil Ganju of a 2017 study on how to estimate coastal salt marshes' potential longevity, based on their sediment budgets and the ratio of open water to vegetation. Photo: Sandra Brosnahan, USGS
USGS researcher gets ready to take water samples in the Yukon River Basin
2015 (approx.)
Charles Couvillion (USGS Alaska Science Center) at Pilot Station, AK, getting ready to take water samples and discharge measurements for a permafrost study in the Yukon River Basin.
2015 (approx.)
Heading out to take water chemistry samples for a study on permafrost in the Yukon River Basin. The study examined the chemical and hydrological changes occurring in the basin due to permafrost loss.
USGS staff dig snowpits to evaluate the snow structure after a wet snow avalanche cycle.
2015 (approx.)
USGS staff dig snowpits to evaluate the snow structure after a wet snow avalanche cycle. This helps identify weak layers responsible for wet slab avalanches along the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.
SCUBA Diver Collects Corals for Paleoclimate
2015 (approx.)
A USGS SCUBA Diver Collects a Core from a Coral Using a Hydraulic Drilling System in the U.S. Virgin Islands. USGS Image (I. Kuffner).
Satellite image of lithium mining in Salar de Atacama, Chile
December 30, 2015
The Salar de Atacama in Chile is a large, dry salt flat surrounded by mountain ranges and is one of the driest places on Earth. Parts of the Atacama Desert have gone without rain for as long as people have been keeping track, but water rich in dissolved salts lies beneath this flat surface. The Salar is particularly rich in lithium salts.
U.S. Life-Saving Station in Portsmouth Historic Village, Cape Lookout National Seashore
2015 (approx.)
A U.S. Life-Saving Station in Portsmouth Historic Village, Cape Lookout National Seashore. The station was build in 1894 to rescue ship-wrecked mariners. This is one of many cultural resources at Cape Lookout National Seashore that may be threatened by climate change. Erin Seekamp, a researcher working with the DOI Southeast Climate Science Center (managed by USGS), is developing a method to...
The 1859 Cape Lookout Lighthouse and keeper's quarters
2015 (approx.)
The 1859 Cape Lookout Lighthouse and keeper's quarters, Cape Lookout National Seashore. This is one of many cultural resources at Cape Lookout National Seashore that may be threatened by climate change. Erin Seekamp, a researcher working with the DOI Southeast Climate Science Center (managed by USGS), is developing a method to identify which of the Park's cultural resources are most in need of...
The 1907 Keeper's Quarters, Cape Lookout National Seashore
2015 (approx.)
The 1907 Keeper's Quarter's, Cape Lookout National Seashore. This house was originally located by the lighthouse, but was moved in 1958 when it was no longer needed and was used as a private residence. This is one of many cultural resources at Cape Lookout National Seashore that may be threatened by climate change. Erin Seekamp, a researcher working with the DOI Southeast Climate Science Center (...
2015 (approx.)
Barter Island sits at the top of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and with the Arctic facing quickly rising temperatures, USGS wants to investigate what’s causing the North Slope bluffs to erode so quickly. This permafrost environment is complex, so USGS studies many facets-- from radon in the groundwater to sand grains along the coast-- of this frozen landscape.
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Green USGS Logo
May 10, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is celebrating the success of three distinguished researchers who are recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest recognition granted by the United States government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their research careers.

The use of irrigation water in California fields like this can be monitored by Landsat satellites.
April 29, 2016

As droughts rage and aquifers dwindle, people may wonder: Is there enough water to meet all our needs?  Landsat satellites are helping to answer that question.

Image shows a flood of water surrounded by mountains and ice.
April 27, 2016

Think glaciers are always slow? Think again!