Earthshots: Satellite images of environmental change – Lake Powell, Utah and Arizona, USA

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Abstract

Earthshots introduces remote sensing by showing examples of how environmental changes look from space.

Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River was completed in 1963. It creates Lake Powell, which ebbs and flows depending on upstream precipitation. Lately, it’s been more ebb.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area encompasses Lake Powell and is visited by more than 2 million people per year.

Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin has been in an extended drought. In over 100 years of record keeping, the basin has had its lowest 16-year period of inflow from rain and snowmelt. During 2000–2015, the inflow of water into Lake Powell was above average in only 3 years. As a result, Lake Powell was at less than half of capacity in 2015.

Droughts combined with a rising population means water sustainability will only become more of a challenge. In addition, hydropower capacity at Glen Canyon Dam could be reduced. Severe droughts are a regular part of the climate variability in this region; however, droughts are expected to become more severe in the future.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Dataset
Publication Subtype Website
Title Earthshots: Satellite images of environmental change – Lake Powell, Utah and Arizona, USA
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description HTML Document
Country United States
State Arizona, Utah
Other Geospatial Colorado River, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Lake Powell
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N