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A Half-Century of Change in Arctic Alaskan Shrubs: A Photographic-Based Assessment


In this study, the locations of 193 old aerial photographs of northern Alaskan landscapes were rephotographed and assessed for changes in vegetation. The original photographs were taken over northern Alaska between 1948 and 1951, and the new photographs were taken between 1999 and 2003. The region covered by the original and repeat photographs stretches from the southern extent of the Brooks Range in the south to the Coastal Plain in the north, and from the Chukchi Sea in the west to the Canning River in the east.

The original photographs were taken by the U.S. military as part of geologic reconnaissance and exploration, and the method used to acquire them was to fly both sides of a river valley while photographing the river and the facing valley slopes. Of the several thousand original photographs, only a fraction were repeated for the purpose of assessing vegetation change. Repeat photographs were selected for geographic coverage and to produce the greatest likelihood of detecting vegetation change. The original and repeat photographs were then scanned and stored in TIFF format. Individual image file sizes range from 5 to 60 MB each, and the total file size for the data set is approximately 11 GB.

The images should not be published without the consent of the investigators.

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Additional information

  • 1.0 (2011-05-17)
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Related projects
Spatial Type point
Frequency other
Language English
ISO Topic Categories
  • biota
GCMD Science Keywords Expand keywords
Related links

Temporal coverage

Begin datetime 1948-01-01 01:01:00
End datetime 2003-12-31 23:59:59

Spatial coverage

Map data from IBCSO, IBCAO, and Global Topography.

Maximum (North) Latitude: 70.00, Minimum (South) Latitude: 68.00
Minimum (West) Longitude: -165.00, Maximum (East) Longitude: -145.00

Primary point of contact information

Matthew Sturm <>

Additional contact information


Example citation following ESIP guidelines:

Sturm, M., Racine, C. 2011. A Half-Century of Change in Arctic Alaskan Shrubs: A Photographic-Based Assessment. Version 1.0. UCAR/NCAR - Earth Observing Laboratory. Accessed 29 Jul 2021.

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