Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in action at the Kilauea Volcano
Scientists are using UAS mounted sensors to help support monitoring and data acquisition needs at the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii.Learn More
10 Things You May Not Know About Our Coasts
Coasts provide many benefits to their inhabitants but are threatened by changing conditions. Scientists are working to understand the related impacts.Learn More
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Land Resource 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
Mangrove forests have migrated inland over the past few decades at many locations along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. This expansion has been attributed to factors associated with climate change, such as increased salinity resulting from sea-level rise and longer intervals between winter freezes, which can kill cold-intolerant mangrove species.
The USGS National UAS Project Office supports the safe, efficient, and cost-effective adoption of UAS technology into the research and operational activities of the DOI.
Science projects are the backbone of the NCCWSC and CSCs. Our projects are based on the needs of our partners, including land managers, natural/cultural resource managers, tribal and indigenous communities. Our research is complemented by our other efforts that include training the next generation of scientists and conducting national synthesis projects that cross CSC boundaries.
Risk and vulnerability studies that seek to improve the scientific basis for assessments and develop quantitative, qualitative, geospatial decision support tools that characterize and communicate the vulnerability of both human communities and natural ecosystems.
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.
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.
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.
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 gases, like...
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.
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...
A similar view of Grinnell Glacier from the glacier's eastern terminus shows extensive melting and subsequent result, Upper Grinnell Lake.
Please respect the photographer: When using these photographs, please credit the photographer and source (eg. T.J. Hileman, courtesy of Glacier National Park Archives). The paired images at the top of this page are examples of proper crediting for...
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...
Multidecadal increases in the Yukon River Basin of chemical fluxes as indicators of changing flowpaths, groundwater, and permafrost
The Yukon River Basin, underlain by discontinuous permafrost, has experienced a warming climate over the last century that has altered air temperature, precipitation, and permafrost. We investigated a water chemistry database from 1982 to 2014 for the Yukon River and its major tributary, the Tanana River. Significant increases of Ca, Mg, and Na...Toohey, Ryan C; Herman-Mercer, Nicole M.; Schuster, Paul F.; Mutter, Edda A.; Koch, Joshua C.
Toward a national, sustained U.S. ecosystem assessment
The massive investment of resources devoted to monitoring and assessment of economic and societal indicators in the United States is neither matched by nor linked to efforts to monitor and assess the ecosystem services and biodiversity that support economic and social well-being. Although national-scale assessments of biodiversity (1) and...Jackson, Stephen T.; Duke, Clifford S.; Hampton, Stephanie E.; Jacobs, Katharine L.; Joppa, Lucas N.; Kassam, Karim-Aly S. K.; Mooney, Harold A.; Ogden, Laura A.; Ruckelshaus, Mary; Shogren, Jason F.
Uncertainty quantification and propagation for projections of extremes in monthly area burned under climate change: A case study in the coastal plain of Georgia, USA: Chapter 16
No abstract available.Riley, Karin L.; Webley, Peter; Thompson, Matthew; Terando, Adam J.; Reich, Brian J.; Pacifici, Krishna; Costanza, Jennifer; McKerrow, Alexa; Collazo, Jaime A.
Climate change impacts on ecosystems and ecosystem services in the United States: Process and prospects for sustained assessment
The third United States National Climate Assessment emphasized an evaluation of not just the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems, but also the impacts of climate change on the benefits that people derive from nature, known as ecosystem services. The ecosystems, biodiversity, and ecosystem services component of the assessment...Grimm, Nancy B.; Groffman, Peter M; Staudinger, Michelle D.; Tallis, Heather
Stakeholder views of management and decision support tools to integrate climate change into Great Lakes Lake Whitefish management
Decision support tools can aid decision making by systematically incorporating information, accounting for uncertainties, and facilitating evaluation between alternatives. Without user buy-in, however, decision support tools can fail to influence decision-making processes. We surveyed fishery researchers, managers, and fishers affiliated with the...Lynch, Abigail J.; Taylor, William W.; McCright, Aaron M.
The precision problem in conservation and restoration
Within the varied contexts of environmental policy, conservation of imperilled species populations, and restoration of damaged habitats, an emphasis on idealized optimal conditions has led to increasingly specific targets for management. Overly-precise conservation targets can reduce habitat variability at multiple scales, with unintended...Hiers, J. Kevin; Jackson, Stephen T.; Hobbs, Richard J.; Bernhardt, Emily S.; Valentine, Leonie E.
The Department of the Interior Southeast Climate Science Center synthesis report 2011–15—Projects, products, and science priorities
IntroductionIn 2009, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar established a network of eight regional Climate Science Centers (CSCs) that, along with the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), would help define and implement the Department's climate adaptation response. The Southeast Climate Science Center (SE CSC) was...Varela Minder, Elda; Lascurain, Aranzazu R.; McMahon, Gerard
The effects of anthropogenic land cover change on pollen-vegetation relationships in the American Midwest
Fossil pollen assemblages provide information about vegetation dynamics at time scales ranging from centuries to millennia. Pollen-vegetation models and process-based models of dispersal typically assume stable relationships between source vegetation and corresponding pollen in surface sediments, as well as stable parameterizations of dispersal...Kujawa, Ellen Ruth; Goring, Simon; Dawson, Andria; Calcote, Randy; Grimm, Eric; Hotchkiss, Sara C.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Lynch, Elizabeth A.; McLachlan, Jason S.; St-Jacques, Jeannine-Marie; Umbanhowar, Charles; Williams, John W.
The sensitivity of WRF downscaled precipitation in Puerto Rico to cumulus parameterization and interior grid nudging
The sensitivity of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) simulated precipitation over Puerto Rico is evaluated using multiple combinations of cumulus parameterization (CP) schemes and interior grid nudging. NCEP-DOE AMIP-II reanalysis (R-2) is downscaled to 2- km horizontal grid spacing with both convective permitting simulations (CP...Wootten, A.; Bowden, J.H.; Boyles, R.; Terando, Adam J.
Assessing climate-sensitive ecosystems in the southeastern United States
Climate change impacts ecosystems in many ways, from effects on species to phenology to wildfire dynamics. Assessing the potential vulnerability of ecosystems to future changes in climate is an important first step in prioritizing and planning for conservation. Although assessments of climate change vulnerability commonly are done for species,...Costanza, Jennifer; Beck, Scott; Pyne, Milo; Terando, Adam; Rubino, Matthew J.; White, Rickie; Collazo, Jaime
Ecosystem vulnerability to climate change in the southeastern United States
Two recent investigations of climate-change vulnerability for 19 terrestrial, aquatic, riparian, and coastal ecosystems of the southeastern United States have identified a number of important considerations, including potential for changes in hydrology, disturbance regimes, and interspecies interactions. Complementary approaches using geospatial...Cartwright, Jennifer M.; Costanza, Jennifer
Insular ecosystems of the southeastern United States—A regional synthesis to support biodiversity conservation in a changing climate
In the southeastern United States, insular ecosystems—such as rock outcrops, depression wetlands, high-elevation balds, flood-scoured riparian corridors, and insular prairies and barrens—occupy a small fraction of land area but constitute an important source of regional and global biodiversity, including concentrations of rare and...Cartwright, Jennifer M.; Wolfe, William J.
Landsat Collections: Providing a Stable Environmental Record for Time Series Analysis
This video introduces the new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Collection 1 inventory structure. Collection 1 required the reprocessing of all archived Landsat data to achieve radiometric and geometric consistency of Level-1 products through time and across all Landsat sensors...
A profile view from the normalized point cloud in Superior National Forest, notice the flattened ground surface. Points are colored by elevation.
This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, changes between the...
The 3DR Solo with GoPro Hero4 camera and gimbal. Coming to a survey area near you soon. Photo credit: Shawn Harrison, USGS. This photo was taken during USGS unmanned aerial systems (drone) pilot training. Two training sessions were held - one in February-March 2017 in Santa Cruz, California and the second in April 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. This photo...
This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, the thematic fire...
This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about MODIS Thermal Anomalies and Fire quality information, including how to decode...
Multicores collected from the northern Gulf of Mexico. These cores contain roughly 1 meter of sediment from the seafloor, and represent the past ~2000 years of deposition. USGS scientists slice these cores in 5 mm increments, and analyze the chemical composition of microfossils (e.g., foraminifera) and molecular fossils (e.g., alkenones, GDGTs, leaf waxes, etc.), to...
This image shows the perimeter of Rainbow Glacier in Glacier National Park: 1966, 1998, 2005, 2015.
When parking lots go up, when rooftops multiply, land cover and land uses change. Professor Andrew Elmore with the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science understands that very well, and explains how he uses Landsat to study and quantify that change in USGS EROS’ latest “Landsat in Action” video conversation. Elmore delves into the changing phenology of...
This video is of is a three-dimensional (3D) view of the Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands topobathymetric model which consists of topography (land elevation) and bathymetry (water depth). This video shows the importance of high-resolution, detailed topobathymetric models because the highest natural elevation for the Majuro Atoll is only three meters. This...
The imagery featured in this video was created using data distributed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). These satellite-derived data are from NASA’s Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) Global Food Security-support Analysis Data (GFSAD) Cropland...
The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.
Migrating mule deer track “green waves” of spring forage: study highlights importance of habitat corridors for migrating game and other species
Migratory mule deer in Wyoming closely time their movements to track the spring green-up, providing evidence of an underappreciated foraging benefit of migration, according to a study by University of Wyoming and U.S. Geological Survey scientists at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
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.
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, bringing relatively early ‘signs of spring’ to portions of the central Midwest and northeastern states.
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.