Cause for Concern? More Data Needed on Ocean's Health

NASA Satellite Detects Red Glow to Map Global Ocean Plant Health (With video), NASA

"The new analysis of MODIS data has allowed the research team to detect new regions of the ocean affected by iron deposition and depletion. The Indian Ocean was a particular surprise, as large portions of the ocean were seen to "light up" seasonally with changes in monsoon winds. In the summer, fall, and winter -- particularly summer -- significant southwesterly winds stir up ocean currents and bring more nutrients up from the depths for the phytoplankton. At the same time, the amount of iron-rich dust delivered by winds is reduced."

Editor's note: Earth observation by satellites provide critical data on the health of our planet. This new report about ocean health plant indicates surprising changes are happening and it's too early to raise the alarm but there is evidence for some concern. Unfortunately it's taken a while to interpret the data and because of this it has not been a priority for the next launch of ocean satellites and the U.S. is losing the capability to get more data. One proposal for a mission which would have the right instrumentation is a NASA decadal survey mission ACE - Aerosol Cloud Ecosystems. However it is not funded. Researchers will continue to get data from the existing satellites but those satellites are nearing the end of their projected life cycle. In the gap the U.S. may have to rely on international partners for data. At least another 10 years worth of data is needed.

- Audio MP3 of presentations and reporters questions and answers. (35mb MP3 - 37 minutes)

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This page contains a single entry by Marc Boucher published on May 28, 2009 1:55 PM.

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