NASA has released incredible images of algal blooms captured from space. The image was part of the $3.6 million project, which was announced by NASA to observe and measure the threat of algal blooms to freshwaters around the US.
NASA has teamed up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to use satellite data in exploring ocean biology.
The researchers stated that the soft growths of algae don’t immediately look dangerous, but these photosynthetic organism can do major damage to freshwater systems. Just like any other chlorophyll-filled plants, algae sucks up carbon dioxide and spews out oxygen.
According to the researchers, algal bloom is a global problem because it puts humans and animals at risk, resulting in fish kills and the contamination of drinking water. Costs of harmful algal bloom affecting freshwater have reached about $64 million each year in USA alone.
Researchers have stated that the project will help them to collect and analyze satellite imagery stretching back as far as 2002. The current pictures of freshwater environments will also be collected by the researchers in order to track the intensity and frequency of algal blooms.
The new project will rely on satellite data on ocean color in developing early warning indicators for algal blooms across freshwater systems. An information distribution system will be developed using data gathered, which will then be used to expedite public health advisories. This new project will provide data in more manageable formats to allow better utilization for stakeholders through web portals and mobile devices.
Paula S. Bontempi, Program Manager for the NASA’s Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry, said, “Observations using instruments based in space are ideal in tackling public health hazards of this type because global coverage is possible and detailed information on materials present in waters will be provided.”