Cold War-Era Satellite Images Reveal Effects of Climate Change

“These spy images are a gold mine as a scientific reference point,”

Howie Epstein – Environmental Sciences Professor

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union routinely spied on each other using high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and space satellites. Looking for USSR military installations, the U.S. found mostly undeveloped, wild terrain.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the U.S. declassified tens of thousands of images. It occurred to University of Virginia environmental scientists that the imagery is a storehouse of information for better understanding how tundra regions are altering as a result of climate change.

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