|Paper title||Monitoring the Greenness of Lakes from Space: Links between Water Quality and Human Health|
|Form of presentation||Poster|
Lakes perform a multitude of functions, from regulating water flow and quality to providing food and income from fishing and tourism. Lakes moderate the local climate and provide water for drinking and irrigation. All of these functions are being affected by human actions. Pollution by untreated waste water and fertilizer use cause eutrophication and disturb the ecosystem’s balance. Warming of the climate causes enhanced evaporation, changing precipitation patterns, and affects the stable layering of lakes, which, in turn, affects the ecosystem by changing the availability of oxygen and nutrients. And these effects influence each other in various and complicated ways. Thus the warming climate may exacerbate the influence of increased nutrient influx.
People living near lakes are directly affected by these changes, some of which can be observed using satellite instruments. Monitoring the quality of lake water can help understand processes leading to changes in lakes, which will aid the development of mitigation or adaptation strategies. Moreover, finding relationships between satellite data and disease or other risks allows their prediction, providing the basis for an early response.
Here, we present first results on the monitoring of the greenness of lakes for three different applications, each addressing an aspect of human health. First: Blue algae, or cyanobacteria, thrive in nutrient-rich, warm waters. In high numbers, they outcompete other algae and plants and have toxic effects on animals and humans. Second: The water hyacinth, which has evolved into a major disturbance to water traffic, fishery, and lake ecosystems within a few decades. Dense water hyacinth mats provide breeding grounds for vectors of malaria and leishmaniasis. Third: Phytoplankton, whose abundance was shown to be related to cholera incidences in various regions in Asia and Africa, as the bacterium responsible for the disease associates with phytoplankton.