Utilizing NASA EOS to Identify and Monitor Bioaerosols Dust Storms

This image is a snapshot of March 28, 2003, right after a major dust storm. The top image is the natural color, the middle image illustrates crust index, and the bottom image is normalized difference vegetation index.

This image is a snapshot of March 28, 2003, right after a major dust storm. The top image is the natural color, the middle image illustrates crust index, and the bottom image is normalized difference vegetation index.

Team Location: Marshal Space Flight Center

Authors: Tiffany Keeton, Kevin Cowart, Bradley Barrick, Kirstin Cooksey and Steve Padgett-Vasquez

Science Advisors/Mentors: Dr. Jeffrey Luvall

Abstract: Exposure to high concentrations of airborne particulate matter, dust, can have adverse health effects on the human respiratory system (Cook et al, 2005). Countless studies have been published showing the link between dust inhalation and a variety of respiratory diseases. However, the pathogenic roles of microbial and viral components of dust have not been extensively studied. Leski et al. (2011) conducted testing of dust particles across 19 locations in Iraq and Kuwait and found the presence of potential human pathogens including: Mycobacterium, Brucella, Coxiella burnetii, Clostridium perfringens, and Bacillus. King et al (2011) examined 49 previously healthy soldiers with unexplained exertial dyspnea and diminished exercise tolerance after deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, and found that 38 of them suffered from diffused constrictive bronchiolitis, which may have resulted from inhalation exposure. Long term exposure to desert dust carrying pathogens may create conditions conducive for novel outbreaks of disease (Griffin and Kellog, 2004).NASA EOS can help determine locations of dust storms with NDDI and if the dust storms contain bioaerosols with NDVI. A case study of March 2003 was selected since a large dust storm was occurring while the U.S. military was moving into Iraq. This affected a large number of military personnel at once. By identifying a particular affected region, findings will provide partner organizations enhanced capabilities to identify personnel who served in the Middle East since 2003 and were exposed to bioaerosols and are in high risk of developing future respiratory complications.



Video transcript available here.