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Remote sensing using satellites could help monitor water quality according to a team of scientists.
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and their cooperators have developed a method of assessing the water quality of Wisconsin's lakes from space. Using images captured 438 miles above the earth, they have completed the first satellite based inventory of the clarity of the largest 8,000 lakes in the state.
"Our research aims to integrate satellite data into the state's day to day lake management programs," said Thomas Lillesand, who led the effort as director of UW-Madison's Environmental Remote Sensing Center. "This won't eliminate the need for conventional water quality monitoring, but it will greatly increase the benefits of ground based sampling."
The researchers hope to monitor lake clarity over time to learn "where lake management activities might be most useful, and which lakes will be most subject to change in the future due to such factors as changes in land use and climate," Lillesand said.
The new statewide water clarity map, daily satellite images of Wisconsin, and an electronic gallery of Landsat images of Wisconsin lakes are viewable online at: http://www.ersc.wisc.edu