Paper No. 14-4
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-5:00 PM
UTILIZING NASA EARTH OBSERVATIONS TO DETECT CHANGES IN ANNUAL SNOWPACK COVERAGE IN INTERMOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARKS
National Parks in the Intermountain region of the United States Northern Great Plains are experiencing changes in Persistent Ice and Snow Cover (PISC) due to changes in climate. Part of the mission of the National Park Service is to discover and protect cultural heritage sites; mapping changes in PISC is a crucial step in identifying archaeological sites exposed by the receding ice and snow. This project focused on three National Parks in the Intermountain region: Glacier, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. Multispectral, 30 m resolution imagery from Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 8 OLI were classified to identify areas of PISC during the months of August and September from 1984 to 2016. The resulting composite, cloud-free images were further used to highlight areas where PISC had decreased during the study period. Glacier National Park showed an increase in PISC between the 1986-1995 and 1996-2005 time periods and then showed a decrease during 2006-2015. Grand Teton National Park showed a decrease from the 1986-1996 to 1997-2006 time periods and then a slight increase in 2007-2016. What little PISC contained within Yellowstone National Park exhibited fluctuations based on seasonality and snowfall intensity. Areas of PISC change were mapped, providing guidance for archaeological research.