Seventh Annual AMS Student Conference


Using remote sensing technologies to monitor the health of the Chesapeake Bay

Jill L. Gribbin, NASA, Greenbelt, MD; and M. Ferrucci, L. Kelly, and S. Risman

In this project students have investigated the opportunities and barriers for innovative NASA satellite-based research data products to be used by operational end-users for monitoring the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, with a watershed extending through six states and the nation's capital. Urbanization and agriculture have led to an excess runoff of nutrients and sediment into the Bay. Nutrients and sediment-loading feed growth of algal blooms associated with various problems including localized dissolved oxygen deficiencies, toxic algal blooms and massive deaths of marine life. Because the use of satellite data by the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) appears to be limited to land-cover studies and public outreach, this project sought to identify limiting factors in using science results from NASA. The students initially surveyed the potential users' needs through literature reviews and interviews with stakeholders and collaborators. The team gathered information and analyzed it for steps NASA could take to share science innovations in support of the CBP's use of its remote sensing data. These results were then compared with existent and newly emerging NASA Earth Science results. The NASA satellite sensors, SeaWiFS and MODIS, offer standard data products for a region of water, ranging from chlorophyll-a levels to sea surface temperature. The NASA GSFC Ocean Biology group has developed advanced algorithms to greatly improve the accuracy of many of the sensors' standard products, particularly chlorophyll-a. The EPA and high-level stakeholders could make use of the SeaDAS program, which presents the SeaWiFS and MODIS data in an easily accessible and user-friendly layout. The CBP could combine this remotely-sensed data with its current in-situ measurements in order to provide policy-makers with the best data for assessing the need for Bay health regulations. Future studies should conduct a larger analysis incorporating aerosol measurements from ground-based networks such as AERONET or high resolution data from NASA JACIE validated commercial satellite products.

Poster Session 1, Student Conference General Poster Session
Sunday, 20 January 2008, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM, Exhibit Hall B

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