|This nadir true-color image was acquired by the MISR instrument on August 26, 2000, and shows part of the southern portion of the reef adjacent to the central Queensland coast. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team|
Australia: Researchers at James Cook University in north Queensland are using images from NASA satellites to study the impact of polluted land run-off on the Great Barrier Reef. Dr Caroline Petus, from the university's TropWATER program, says the publicly available images can be effectively used to map the extent, nutrient content and muddiness of flood plumes.
It replaces the need for costly and labor-intensive methods like using submerged data loggers or boats and helicopters to gather water samples, she said. The images will be used develop river plume maps for the reef's seagrass and coral ecosystems, which are in decline. The maps will also help researchers to study the resilience of these ecosystems to water quality changes.