Presented at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting
Denver, Colorado - October 25 - 28, 1999

Evidence of Climate Change as Seen from Low Earth Orbit

Joe C. Caruana, Julie A. Robinson, M. Justin Wilkinson, and Kimberly J. Willis, Earth Sciences and Image Analysis, NASA Johnson Space Center, c/o Lockheed Martin, Mail Code C 23, Houston, Texas 77058, jcaruana@ems.jsc.nasa.gov, and David L. Amsbury, 128 Homestead, Kerrville, Texas 78028

Photographs taken from low earth orbit by astronauts illustrate geomorphologic changes caused by climatic changes in the variable time scale of decades to 100,000 years. Using various examples such as shoreline changes, underfed rivers, and paleodune fields we will show some of the rich content of the photography.

For example the changing beach ridge patterns of the Brazilian coast caused by shifts in alongshore currents. Changes in the Andean lake levels and paleodunes east of the Andes have shifted as climate changed. In Africa, widespread paleodunes formed 8,000 to 12,000 years ago and are locally drowned by Lake Chad and the Inland Delta of the Niger River. Recent climate shifts in sub-Saharan Africa have been observed since the 1960's in the variable shorelines of these two bodies of water. Lake level fluctuations in Mono Lake and Great Salt Lake in the Basin and Range province of North America also become short-term climate indicators. The photographs can be coordinated with paleoclimate ground observations and recent short-term data. Each photograph is unique in composition and we will attempt to show the best use of the different photographs for the earth science disciplines.

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