Scientists monitor inland water nutrients
Chinese scientists have developed a new remote-sensing approach to assess nutrient levels in inland waters.
Scientists from the Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences assessed the nutrient levels of 2,058 large inland water bodies around the world using data gathered from remote sensing in the summer of 2012.
During the assessment, they analyzed spatial distribution and produced a nutrient map of the world’s large inland water bodies.
The results show that bodies of water with large levels of nutrients that fuel plant growth but deprive the water of oxygen are concentrated in Central Africa, East Asia, and mid-northern and southeastern North America, while those with fewer nutrients but plentiful oxygen are concentrated in plateau regions in Central Asia and southern South America.
Inland waters provide water resources, fishery resources and energy. They also play an important role in global climate change as well as biodiversity conservation.
In recent decades, rising levels of nutrients in inland waters — such as phosphates from fertilizers or detergents — have become a global environmental problem.
The research was published in the journal Remote Sensing of Environment.