Landsat's Critical Role in Understanding Climate Change
Long-term weather patterns averaged over 30 years or more make up our climate. Human well-being—our infrastructure and agriculture—depend on a reliable climate. This reliability allows farmers to plant seeds in the spring with confidence that temperatures and rainfall will sustain crops in the coming months. It allows communities to build and maintain roads, buildings, and drainage systems best suited to local conditions. Earth’s climate is controlled by the amount of energy that flows through the atmosphere, oceans, and land. By adding heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere—primarily carbon dioxide—people are increasing the amount of energy in the Earth system that would otherwise escape to space. This increase in energy is changing Earth’s climate, and consequently, the weather patterns that people rely on are shifting. Changes in long-term weather patterns have wide-ranging impacts on ecosystems and peoples’ lives. Designed to observe land and coastal ecosystems, Landsat instruments provide an unparalleled space-based record of the impact of climate change on Earth’s landscapes, the growth and loss of carbon- storing.
Using 30 years of Landsat data, researchers have found that the volume of glacial lakes worldwide has increased by about 50% since 1990.
Student Liza Goldberg Uses National Geographic Young Explorers Grant to Bring Satellite Imagery into Classrooms
Goldberg will launch Cloud to Classroom, an innovative project that uses satellite imagery to help K-12 classrooms understand global environmental change through remote sensing.
A team of Boise State researchers is helping forecast tropical forest recovery from deforestation using Landsat satellite data.
Landsat imagery shows that bull kelp canopy area can vary dramatically from year to year, and that long-term population trends vary from reef to reef.
Considered one of the world’s richest and most endangered forests, the Atlantic rainforest occupies 15% of Brazil’s landmass in an area that is home to 72% of the population.