Coast News

Enhanced Satellite Imagery Shows Polluted Water from Florida Reaching Georgia

This enhanced ocean color image from 15 June 2016 shows discolored water from Port St. Lucie, FL reaching the western side of the Gulf Stream and being carried all the way north offshore of Savannah, Georgia approximately 270 miles (straight line distance).

Florida Ocean color w arrowsThis is the same polluted water that originated from Lake Okeechobee, Florida that has been diverted to Florida’s east and west coasts instead of being sent down its natural path through central Florida to be cleaned by the Everglades before entering into Florida Bay. 

In the image, the polluted water appears brown colored off Port. St. Lucie. The water has been pulled offshore to the nearby blue Gulf Stream. The polluted brown water mixes with the surrounding Gulf Stream blue waters and its signature reflectance changes from brown to green colored water. By the time the water reaches the waters offshore of Savannah, Georgia, it appears as a blue-green water mass. It is also more dispersed and appears with a larger surface area.

“We have seen this pattern of motion several times with the St. Lucie effluent. This provides evidence that Florida is transporting its unhealthy polluted waters to other states,” said Mitchell A. Roffer, Ph.D, President of Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc. Dr. Roffer has been involved in NASA Ocean Color Research Team along with NASA’s Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting Team for many years.

The featured image was derived from the VIIRS sensor on the Suomi National Polar Orbiting Partnership satellite. It was downloaded in digital form from both the University of South Florida’s Institute of Marine Remote Sensing and the University of Delaware’s Ocean Exploration, Remote Sensing, and Biogeography Laboratory to verify the data.

The satellite data was processed and false colored enhanced by Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc. (ROFFS™) using techniques developed by ROFFS™ scientists in-house and by techniques adapted from from both NASA’s Ocean Color Program and NOAA’s Center for Satellite Applications and Research Program over the last 30 years. ROFFS™ collaborates with both programs. For more information about the technology that enhanced this image, click here.

ECO Magazine is a marine science publication committed to bringing scientists and professionals the latest ground-breaking research, industry news, and job opportunities from around the world.

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