Landsat Helps Warn of Algae in Lakes and Rivers

  • Released Monday, March 22nd, 2021
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:44PM

From space, satellites including the NASA and U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Landsat 8 can help scientists identify lakes where an algal bloom has formed. It’s a complicated data analysis process, but one that researchers are automating so resource managers around the country can use the satellite data to identify potential problems.

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Complete transcript available.

Watch this video on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel.

From space, satellites such as the NASA and USGS Landsat 8 can help scientists identify where an algal bloom has formed in lakes or rivers. It’s a complicated data analysis process, but one that researchers are automating so resource managers around the country can use the satellite data to identify potential problems.

Nima Pahlevan and his team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have developed an algorithm to take the data collected by Landsat 8 over water, analyze it, and create a product for distribution. There are multiple, computationally intensive steps to get from the raw data to the usable product. This free-to-use data product makes it easier for more people to work with quality Landsat data.

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Landsat satellites have been consistently gathering data about our planet since 1972. They continue to improve and expand this unparalleled record of Earth's changing landscapes for the benefit of all.



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