Annual Report 2013

Founding

While teaching in Yosemite Valley, Jonathan Byers and Ned LeBlond recognized a need to communicate climate science more effectively with the public. In May 2013, Alpine of the Americas Project (AAP) was set into motion to crowd source repeat historic photographs to visually capture alpine responses to climate change. By taking the administrative burden, Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE) allows AAP to focus on working with participants, contribute data to climate science databases, and use repeat photographs to express large swathes of data in a simple image revealing changes to local watersheds.

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Reach

AAP has captured over 100 repeat photographs from Glacier National Park in Montana to Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. This boreal fall, 8 successful participants contributed 33 photos in 3 countries. These observations included glacier recession, meadow succession, shifting shorelines of lakes and water supplies, mudslides, and development. This data will be contributed to Glaciers of the American West, CalPhoto of UC Berkeley, and used in publications to clarify water problems in the American West.

We’ve made repeat photographs more accessible to participants by providing over 200 repeat photographs online as well as several repeat photo sets in Washington, California, and Patagonia. This resulted from building our database, which now has over 400 useful photographs in 4 countries and 8 states. This database is continually growing and being made available at our Repeat a Photograph webpage.

Partnerships

Our partnerships are becoming the cornerstone of excellent data. With donated time from LightHawk pilots, Jonathan was able to capture the first set of aerial repeat photographs taken of the MacClure and Dana glaciers along the Eastern border of Yosemite National Park. Moreover, we are developing annual relationships with passionate individuals, families, guiding outfits such as Outward Bound, and various colleges throughout the Pacific Slope who plan to become stewards of specific repeat photograph locations. With consistency from these partners, we expect to improve our accuracy over time. RePhoto’s smartphone app has become an integral part of making some historic photographs more accessible and easy to repeat.

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Media

2013 was a big year for AAP in the news. The story of AAP’s initial stages was captured by Boulder Weekly to close last year. Jonathan was published in the Patagon Journal’s Austral Summer Edition as he followed in the footsteps of a famous South American photographer Alberto de Agostini. The project gained national media attention on CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley televised the AAP founders repeating photographs in Estes Park, CO. This fall, NPR interviewed Ned to discuss how of historic photographs can be useful for climate scientists and even contributed a photograph of the Mt. Abbot Glacier from Mono Pass. Recently, the Columbia Icefield Gigapan Project Annual Newsletter featured a history of the Pacific Slope’s oldest glacier photos.

Click here for a PDF file of the AAP Annual Report 2013

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