The Real Monster of Lake Champlain

EarthzineDEVELOP Spring 2014, DEVELOP Virtual Poster Session, Original

Map result showing chlorophyll-a concentrations (ug/L) in Lake Champlain on Aug. 30, 2002.

Map result showing chlorophyll-a concentrations (ug/L) in Lake Champlain on Aug. 30, 2002.

Project Team: Lake Champlain Water Resources Team
Team Location: Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

Authors: Patrick Faha (Old Dominion University)
Emily Gotschalk (Christopher Newport University)
Joanna Ely (Thomas Nelson Community College)

Mentors/Advisors: Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA DEVELOP National Science Advisor)

Past/Other Contributors: Tiffani Orne (NASA DEVELOP LaRC Assistant Center Lead)
Sam Weber (NASA DEVELOP GSFC Center Lead)
Hayley Solak (Clark University)


Since 1999, Lake Champlain has been afflicted by cyanobacterial blooms, primarily in the summer months. Inherent characteristics of the bacteria pose both ecological and economic health hazards. Current in situ measurement methods are expensive and lack complete coverage of the lake. Remote sensing detection of the blooms may be a method that can provide more uniform coverage of the lake and be more cost-effective to the organizations that monitor the lake. Using remote sensing data obtained from NASA’s Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) to identify bloom events and evaluating data from environmental factors preceding the bloom, this study established a set of soft predictions to be used to address future blooms. Additionally, a comparative land-cover classification that spanned the study period was used to assess the significance of this change. The products and methodologies were then given to project partners for continued use to assist with policy- and decision-making regarding nutrient and sediment reductions.

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