Sunday, July 8, 2018
This image displays the before and after satellite images of an area in Tambopata National Reserve, a protected area in Peru. The one on the left is the before image (September 2015) of when the area was in its more or less natural state. The one on the right is the after image (November 2015) taken after the area was invaded by an illegal gold mining operation. You can see that some of the forests have been cut and parts of the river have been invaded with mining equipment. Deforestation as a result of illegal mining is apparently a big problem in the area. Gold mining not only causes habitat loss and endangers different species because of that, it also causes mercury pollution, as well as violence to the local communities.
This image is important because it shows how we can use satellite images to detect illegal activities that have negative impacts on our forests, the environment, and the communities.
Links to relevant website(s):
Monday, July 2, 2018
This image shows an aerial view of Lake Erie taken in 2011 of a toxic blue-green algae bloom. The neon green of the algal bloom can be seen coating the surface of the dark blue water of the lake. The bright neon green swirly algae has tendrils that stretch a great distance of the lake in this image. Some almost stretching across the entire width in some places. Most of the algae is concentrated around the coast between the blue lake and the brown/green land.
This image is important because these algal blooms can cause harm and even death in humans or animals that swim in these areas. Algal blooms also impact the water quality and the organisms that live in the water. Phosphorus is the main factor that contributes to algal blooms. When the algae feed they take many essential nutrients out of the water. Most important of all is the large quantity of oxygen taken from the lake. This high decrease in oxygen kills other plants and aquatic organisms. The algal blooms are indicators of runoff from agriculture (fertilizers, animal waste), wastewater treatments plants, and industry. This image could be used in researching methods to decrease these blooms. Such as, if implementing new policy on fertilizer runoff impacts the size/amount of algal blooms.
Links to relevant website(s):
Images of Mendota/Monona algal bloom: http://blooms.uwcfl.org/mendota/
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
"Restless Kilauea" -- Imagery from Copernicus Sentinel-2, ESA
Kilauea has been undergoing increased activity since earthquakes began at the beginning of May, 2018, leading to major eruptions beginning on the 17th of May, according to USGS. The European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 satellites have been tracking visible-spectrum macro-scale changes in the lava flow on the eastern flank of the Big Island of Hawaii. The earthquakes beginning on May 3rd opened fissures to the northeast of the main caldera of Kilauea. The opening of these fissures led to a drop in lava levels. In the main caldera, this has led to the formation of a lava created by the crumbling crater walls and groundwater seeping into the crater and cooling the lava below its melting point. This cap re-pressurized the magma chamber, forcing lava out of the newly-formed fissures to the east and northeast of the Kilauea Caldera. The GIF below shows the changes in the lava flows as the various fissures in the area have opened and closed from May 23rd to June 12th. The steam caused by the flow of lava into the ocean heavily obscures the two images taken in June.
Source: Copernicus Sentinel data, ESA, http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2018/06/Restless_Kilauea
Other sources on the new Kilauea eruption:
Friday, June 22, 2018
Section of West Antarctic Ice Sheet from a NASA Operation Icebridge Airplane on October 31, 2016.
Barletta et al. (2018)
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Check out these Digital Globe images captured before and after the mudslides in Montecito, California. For the full story, check out