CLEVELAND — NASA scientists are teaming with researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor
A goal of the research is to predict when the blue-green blooms — which adversely affect the taste of water, the health of some wildlife and the desirability of swimming — might appear in future years.
“We want to keep an eye on how they’re spreading and where they will hit landfall,” said NOAA scientist George Leskevich.
In time, that could mean a new
That’s important to a region where the
Researchers like Leskevich at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in
The seasonal blooms dogged the
Scientists cite runoff from cities, fertilizers, zebra mussels, and livestock near water supplies as probable culprits.
Until now, little has been done to predict the arrival and movement of the algae. Finding blooms by boat can be time-consuming because of the size of the lake.
NASA scientists aboard a streaking Lear jet loaded with high-tech, high-resolution imaging equipment scanned
The NASA and NOAA teams will crunch the data from sky and water in coming months, creating computer models that could project the algae blooms.
NASA Glenn Research Center got involved in algae monitoring in 2000, funding a study that revealed algae’s specific “spectral signature” when seen in satellite images.
Every plant, animal or nonliving object reflects and absorbs light differently, and has a unique spectral signature.
But satellites pass over
So NASA engineers last summer teamed up with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory to record the spectral images from the side door of an airplane.
NOAA scientists first recorded the light-signature of blue-green algae from their boat. NASA researchers then used that information to track the algae as sunlight reflected off it to their airborne equipment.
“Our goal is to make remote monitoring accurate in real-time,” Leskevich said.