Satellites Can Spy a Menace in West Africa: Invasive Flowers

Satellites Can Spy a Menace in West Africa: Invasive Flowers

Whereas the satellite tv for pc pictures give a regional perspective, Ovienmhada’s drone images supplied detailed views of focused areas. She additionally took a ship into the lake, stopping right here and there to take water high quality measurements with sensors.

Utilizing all this knowledge, Ovienmhada was capable of present that, regardless of some annual variation, the water hyacinth drawback was certainly worsening, on common protecting increasingly more of the lake annually. The challenge additionally produced a web-based device that helps GKA plan the place they’ll harvest, estimate how many individuals and the way a lot space for storing they want, and assess how effectively they’re stopping the plant from spreading excessively.

SERVIR, which launched in 2004, is making such initiatives attainable. This system (Spanish for “to serve”) helps native governments and communities to utilize satellite tv for pc knowledge to handle environmental threats and reply to pure disasters. “Nations everywhere in the world may use the info. NASA had the info and the know-how. How do you convey these two collectively?” asks Daniel Irwin, SERVIR international program supervisor and analysis scientist at NASA Marshall Area Flight Middle in Alabama. Irwin emphasizes that native specialists, not embedded NASA officers, design these initiatives. 

SERVIR at the moment has 5 regional hubs, one in all which is in West Africa. The others are in Jap and Southern Africa, the Amazon, the Hindu Kush, and the Mekong, and so they might add extra, equivalent to in Central America. This system doesn’t have its personal spacecraft, nevertheless it makes use of knowledge collected by a wide range of NASA satellites, in addition to some from the European and Japanese house businesses and, lately, industrial ones, equivalent to from San Francisco–primarily based Planet Labs. “We’re energy customers of Landsat,” Irwin says, referring to a collection of satellites developed by NASA and the US Geological Survey which were orbiting the globe since 1972. (Ovienmhada and Wooden’s work benefited from these older Landsat pictures.)

The most recent spacecraft in that household, Landsat 9, simply launched final month. Like its predecessor, which continues to be in orbit, it supplies pictures that every symbolize an space that’s about 180 kilometers on a facet, with every pixel protecting an space 30 meters per facet. “We get actually great-quality knowledge each eight days. That’s going to be a boon, particularly for water high quality functions,” says Jeffrey Masek, the Landsat 9 challenge scientist at NASA Goddard Area Flight Middle in Maryland. The scope and backbone of the pictures have proved helpful not only for Ovienmhada’s evaluation, but in addition for different initiatives mapping algae blooms, or monitoring and forecasting droughts and floods. Different SERVIR initiatives have used Landsat knowledge to map and observe deforestation, lack of rangelands, crop yields, and wildfires.

A water hyacinth infestation on Lake Nokoué in Cotonou, Benin.{Photograph}: Danielle Wooden and Ufuoma Ovienmhada
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