GLOBAL FIDUCIALS PROGRAM REMOTE SENSING OF THE CRYOSPHERE
These sequential satellite imagery time series are collected by U.S. National Imagery Systems sensors for the GFP. They provide valuable insights into Earth processes and the changes taking place at about 100 carefully selected cryosphere locations. The collection and interpretation of these decadal time series of images enhances our ability to observe and understand Earth’s dynamic cold region processes and to determine long-term trends, impacts, and changes, most driven by global climate change.
Terrestrial time series focus on cold region hydrologic processes, Arctic permafrost, polar and temperate glaciers, Arctic tundra vegetation, and Antarctic ‘Dry Valley’ surface processes and ecosystems. With respect to sea ice, one time series focuses on coastal sea ice and its terrestrial impacts on the Barrow, Alaska area, while other time series monitor sea ice dynamics at six Arctic Ocean locations. Others document the evolution of drifting Arctic sea ice throughout the Arctic summer.
Since 2008, more than 1,500 1-m resolution electro-optical (EO) images which comprise time series of many of these cryosphere sites have been released for unrestricted public use. In time, imagery from all of the remaining sites will be made publically available. Initial site selections were made by Federal and academic scientists based on each site’s unique history, susceptibility, or environmental value. For each site, collection strategies were carefully defined with specific repeat intervals and image characteristics to maximize information extraction capabilities.
The Civil Applications Committee, operated by the US Geological Survey is the Federal interagency committee that manages these data. Publically released imagery can be downloaded and freely used and distributed (source URLs are: gfl.usgs.gov and gfp.usgs.gov). Released images are orthorectified and provided in a GeoTIFF format with supporting metadata.