Retreating Ice: The Beginnings of Discovery

Category: Detecting Land Cover Change & Disturbances
Project Team: Northern Great Plains Water Resources
Team Location: Wise County Clerk of Court’s Office – Wise, Virginia

Retreating Ice: The Beginnings of Discovery. Image Credit: Northern Great Plains Water Resources Team

Retreating Ice: The Beginnings of Discovery. Image Credit: Northern Great Plains Water Resources Team

Authors:
Anne Gale
Michael Brooke
Xin Hong
Cody Vineyard

Mentors/Advisors:
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA Langley Research Center)
Dr. DeWayne Cecil (NOAA NCEI, Global Science and Technology)
Bob VanGundy (The University of Virginia’s College at Wise)
Mike Bender (Wise County, Virginia)

Past/Other Contributors:
Sean McCartney (Center Lead)

Abstract:

National Parks in the Intermountain region of the northern United States Great Plains are experiencing snow and ice melt due to changes in climate. As the ice recedes, it has the potential to reveal previously undiscovered archaeological sites. Therefore, investigating the changes of Persistent Ice and Snow Cover (PISC) in this region is crucial to identifying archaeological sites. To address the changes of PISC, a two-phase methodology was implemented: 1) map the PISC in the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado over the period from 1998 to 2014 using Landsat scenes; and 2) detect the changes of PISC over time. This research was a case study to document the retreat of PISC in the Intermountain National Parks, namely Rocky Mountain National Park, by applying NASA Earth observations. This research also can aid in testing hypotheses about the drivers of human behavioral variability and support the National Park Service in its mission to mitigate impacts of climate change to mountain cultural heritage resources.

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