The Yukon River basin encompasses 832,000 square-kilometers and is one of Earth's largest boreal-Arctic rivers. Characterized by a long, frozen winter season, the river demonstrates an abrupt ice breakup and spring snowmelt-driven flood pulse.
The National Park Service (NPS) has a substantial investment in and a long history of using aerial and spaceborne remote sensing and global positioning system (GPS) technologies. The NPS Inventory & Monitoring Program conducts baseline inventories for more than 270 parks across the Nation. Remote sensing data are a critical source of information regarding geology, soils, vegetation, and infrastructure. Aerial photography and satellite imagery have been utilized to compile vegetation maps; a monumental task given the agency has responsibility for over 30 million acres. These data are particularly critical for NPS activities in Alaska, because of its remote and vast expanses of public land and the fact that the Arctic is warming rapidly in response to climate change. The NPS takes advantage of the open and freely available Landsat archive to quantify decadal changes in glacier ice cover and document land cover change in national park units. The NPS has been the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) sponsoring agency to map all large wildland and prescribed fires as part of the DOI Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity project, using the Landsat archive. GPS supports field data collection, navigation, and search and rescue operations conducted by the agency.
Twenty years ago, ecological studies were often limited by the number of times biologists could find (relocate) their study animals. With the advent and now widespread use of Global Positioning System (GPS)collars, tracking the animals is no longer a primary concern.
The snow season has become shorter and the growing season longer over the past 20 years in Alaska's Arctic National Parks. The NPS Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network (ARCN) uses MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellite images and remote automated cameras to monitor the timing of the growing season and the snow cover in five large national parks in northern Alaska.
Remotely sensed data and derived information contribute significantly to mission-critical work across the Department of the Interior (DOI). This report from the DOI Remote Sensing Working Group (DOIRSWG) highlights a sample of DOI remote sensing applications and illustrates the many types of technology, platforms, and specialized sensors employed.* DOI personnel use remote sensing technology to evaluate and monitor changing land-surface and natural resource conditions over the vast areas for which DOI has responsibility.
The Everglades National Park (EVER) and Big Cypress National Preserve (BICY) vegetation mapping project is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, a cooperative effort between the South Florida Water Management District, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the NPS Vegetation Mapping Inventory Program (VMI).
Physical scientists at Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska have been using remote sensing methods to monitor an unnamed glacial ice-dammed lake (IDL) and the subsequent glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) that regularly occur at Bear Glacier to understand the timing, frequency, and drivers that lead to GLOFs.
Dramatic warming in the Arctic is accelerating the melting of snow and ice. The NPS Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network (ARCN) is using Landsat satellite images to monitor the area of lakes and ponds in the five NPS units in northern Alaska. Water surface area trends were computed using both the new U.S.
The NPS Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network (ARCN) is using high-resolution satellite images and historical color infrared aerial photographs to monitor the abundance of small landslides resulting from thaw of permafrost. Active-layer detachments (ALD) and retrogressive thaw slumps (RTS) are small landslides that occur as a result of thaw in permafrost regions.
Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) are an iconic species of the north and an integral component of the natural ecosystem and socioeconomic wellbeing of local communities. Alaska is home to 32 different caribou herds which are identified by females returning to specific calving areas each spring to give birth.
Many prehistoric sites located throughout Alaska are surface scatters of lithic (rock) debris, either remaining exposed since occupation or re-exposed due to erosion. Due to their open nature, these sites are often interpreted to lack much of their original context and integrity.