NCCOS scientists collected samples to provide field calibration data for MODIS satellite imagery products. NCCOS provides these products to the South Florida Water Management District, which uses the imagery to track harmful algal blooms, including the Lake Okeechobee cyanobacterial bloom. Samples were taken from Lake Okeechobee and in several locations of the St. Lucie River, St. Lucie estuary and Indian River Lagoon on July 27–28, 2016. Hand-held radiometry (color) was collected simultaneously with water samples for toxin, pigment, and phytoplankton measurements.
The MODIS imagery product effort is part of the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) project, a collaborative effort between U.S. EPA, NASA, NOAA, and USGS to provide early warning of cyanobacteria and other toxic and nuisance algae blooms. It is funded by NASA's Ocean Biology and Biochemistry research group.
EPA Region 4 is leading the Federal response to the Lake Okeechobee bloom. NCCOS has provided modest funds to increase sampling and toxin analysis in estuarine and coastal areas where the likelihood of human exposure is high, and identified experts to conduct toxin analyses and design tests for aerosols.
For more information on the HAB imaging products, contact Michelle.Tomlinson@noaa.gov .
For specific information about the bloom in Florida, please visit the responding agencies' website: