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Satellite Remote Sensing for Monitoring and Assessment
Schaeffer, B. Satellite Remote Sensing for Monitoring and Assessment. GEO Water Quality Webinar, online, June 12, 2014.
To illustrate ways remote sensing can be used to advance environmental management practices, and to develop a stakeholder tool with the capability to monitor cyanobacteria blooms near real-time, and potentially provide predictive capability.
Remote sensing technology has the potential to enhance the engagement of communities and managers in the implementation and performance of best management practices. This presentation will use examples from U.S. numeric criteria development and state water quality monitoring programs to illustrate ways remote sensing can be used to advance management practices. In the first example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that numeric criteria were necessary to protect Florida's coastal waters from the impacts of anthropogenic nutrients. Florida's coastal waters have not been monitored comprehensively via field sampling therefore existing monitoring data was insufficient to support numeric criteria development. However, satellite remote sensing had the potential to provide more extensive data. Spatial and temporal measures of chlorophyll-a derived from SeaWiFS, MODIS, and MERIS were resolved across Florida's coastal waters and provided a quantitative baseline that could be used to protect against long-term changes in chlorophyll-a resulting from anthropogenic nutrients.Success from the coastal criteria approach has focused new efforts on the validation of an "off-the-shelf" algorithm to identify cyanobacterial blooms, potentially for national application. In this study, available in situ cyanobacterial cell count data from Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts were compared with derived cyanobacterial cell count estimates from MERIS. A secondary goal of this project was to develop a stakeholder tool with the capability to monitor cyanobacteria blooms near real-time, and potentially provide predictive capability. Crowd sourcing was selected as a unique opportunity to pool the problem solving skills of >500,000 people worldwide to develop these capabilities. This combined use of satellite technology with crowd sourcing provided a sophisticated stakeholder tool that may allow for more holistic management to reduce exposure risk to the public.