Satellites Can Spy a Menace in West Africa: Invasive Flowers

Although the satellite illustrations or photos give a regional standpoint, Ovienmhada’s drone photographs presented detailed views of focused areas. She also took a boat into the lake, stopping here and there to choose h2o good quality measurements with sensors.

Using all this information, Ovienmhada was capable to exhibit that, despite some yearly variation, the h2o hyacinth trouble was indeed worsening, on common masking a lot more and far more of the lake just about every 12 months. The venture also generated an on the web device that allows GKA plan the place they’ll harvest, estimate how several men and women and how much storage place they have to have, and evaluate how very well they’re protecting against the plant from spreading excessively.

SERVIR, which introduced in 2004, is building these tasks possible. The system (Spanish for “to serve”) assists regional governments and communities to make use of satellite knowledge to tackle environmental threats and respond to normal disasters. “Countries all around the planet could use the info. NASA had the data and the know-how. How do you convey those people two jointly?” asks Daniel Irwin, SERVIR world wide method manager and exploration scientist at NASA Marshall House Flight Centre in Alabama. Irwin emphasizes that nearby experts, not embedded NASA officials, structure these jobs. 

SERVIR at the moment has five regional hubs, a single of which is in West Africa. The other folks are in Japanese and Southern Africa, the Amazon, the Hindu Kush, and the Mekong, and they may include a lot more, these kinds of as in Central The us. The method does not have its personal spacecraft, but it takes advantage of details collected by a wide variety of NASA satellites, as effectively as some from the European and Japanese house businesses and, recently, commercial kinds, these types of as from San Francisco–based Planet Labs. “We’re electric power consumers of Landsat,” Irwin suggests, referring to a series of satellites developed by NASA and the US Geological Survey that have been orbiting the world since 1972. (Ovienmhada and Wood’s perform benefited from all those more mature Landsat illustrations or photos.)

The most recent spacecraft in that family members, Landsat 9, just launched very last thirty day period. Like its predecessor, which is still in orbit, it supplies photos that each represent an region that’s about 180 kilometers on a side, with each pixel masking an space 30 meters for each side. “We get truly great-high quality details just about every eight days. Which is likely to be a boon, in particular for water excellent apps,” states Jeffrey Masek, the Landsat 9 undertaking scientist at NASA Goddard Room Flight Heart in Maryland. The scope and resolution of the photographs have proved practical not just for Ovienmhada’s evaluation, but also for other initiatives mapping algae blooms, or monitoring and forecasting droughts and floods. Other SERVIR assignments have employed Landsat information to map and monitor deforestation, decline 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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