NASA Releases New Dataset of Cyanobacteria in Over 2,300 Lakes in the U.S.


The CyAN science team is excited that this standardized way of assessing cyanobacteria will enable scientists to compare blooms across the country and over time.

Lakes provide drinking water for people, habitat for plants and wildlife, and a place to fish, boat and swim. But the water can become harmful to humans, animals and the ecosystem when toxic algae called cyanobacteria reach abnormally high levels due to warm, nutrient-rich water conditions.

A now publicly available NASA dataset allows citizens and policymakers to get near-real time updates on the cyanobacteria in over 2,300 lakes in the contiguous United States and more than 5,000 in Alaska. The new study, published in the journal Remote Sensing of Environment, introduces this extensive inland waters dataset that includes a time series of standardized satellite measurements starting in 2002.

Scientists and state officials have already used the data to monitor and respond to early-stage algal blooms – a rapid increase in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems – but the dataset is now available to the general public and research community in the form of raw data, maps, and an index of cyanobacteria risk to human health. Having the raw data, in addition to cyanobacteria maps, will allow researchers, managers and community members to create and assess remote sensing tools for water quality.

Continue reading at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Image via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center