Parks in this Network
Repeat Photography in National Parks of Southwest Alaska
About This Project
How has this glacier changed in the last 100 years? What did this mountain look like before its last eruption? How are these trees responding to warmer, longer summers? These are all questions that can be answered, at least in part, by comparing photographs taken over time.
This website houses the repeat photography database for Southwest Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network. Our goal is to provide a searchable, interactive platform to explore, use, and contribute to this growing database.
Browse photos that others have contributed to this growing database.
You can contribute to the repeat photography database in several ways.
First, you can take one or more repeat shots of photographs we currently have in the database using our guidelines.
Second, you can establish new photo sites, such as looking out from a public use cabin or a kayak launch beach. Keep in mind that these photos are used to track changes in the landscape over time. Also, frame your photo with an easy to notice reference point for others who may repeat it in the future.
Uploading photos to Flickr and attaching them to the SWAN repeat photography database is simple. Here are the steps to follow.
- First, set up an account with Flickr or log in using an existing Yahoo, Google, or Facebook account.
- Information on how to do this is provided via Flickr
- Second, join one or more of the groups associated with the Southwest Alaska Repeat Photography database.
- Next, upload your photos. Be sure to add them to the appropriate group as you upload. Also, include additional information with the photo, such as the GPS coordinates, location name, etc.
- Finally, view your photos on our embedded slide shows.
Photos & Monitoring
Holgate Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park is among the 90% of glaciers in Alaska that are retreating. NPS photo
Monitoring in Southwest Alaska
Photograph monitoring of Landscape Change in Southwest Alaska
Photo galleries of SWAN Scientists in the field
Historical photographs combined with archived data supplement other sampling methods and help us understand change over time. Repeat photography also helps interpret the data collected by other means..
Climate refers to the long-term patterns in weather of a given area. Today, scientists record temperature, precipitation, snow depth, and other short-term parameters to track long-term patterns.Since installing the weather stations, we've learned that the temperature routinely reaches 70F on the Harding Icefield during summer months. Winds of over 100 miles per hour have been recorded by several stations during winter storms. Maintaining the stations is an ongoing effort and involves annual visits to each remote location.
In many cases, photos are the first records of a glacier's physical characteristics and provide valuable information about the terminus, or face, of the glacier as well as its height and area of coverage.
Since installing the weather stations, we've learned that the temperature routinely reaches 70F on the Harding Icefield during summer months. Winds of over 100 miles per hour have been recorded by several stations during winter storms. Maintaining the stations is an ongoing effort and involves annual visits to each remote location.
See the shrub expansion in Lake Clark at the Chilligan River
Seasonal events, such as the green up of forests in spring or the onset of lake ice in winter, are cues for many other natural processes like migration and mating. In addition, they can help scientists determine long-term trends in seasons and the effects of climate change.
Large, landscape-level changes in vegetation types serve as both a driver of and response to changes in the environment. Repeat aerial photography is the primary tool used by scientists to categorize landscapes (ie. figure out which areas are forests and which ones are meadows) and to track changes in the national parks of southwest Alaska. When combined with photography and species observation on the ground, the aerial images form a detailed record of the changing landscape. While some changes in landscapes are correlated with climate change, others are due to fire, volcanic eruptions or earthquakes.
See evidence of volcanic activity at Half Cone.
Coastlines in southwest Alaska are dynamic and constantly changing. Changes to coastlines are often caused by storm-driven waves, hide tides, currents, runoff, landslides, and earthquakes. These changes alter the vegetation, animal communities and shore-type and have implications for humans and land management. Scientists with the National Park Service are monitoring coastal change using repeat aerial photography and satellite imagery. The photographs are then compared to surveys conducted along the shore to determine change.