Global warming continues, affecting us not only on land, but in the seas as well. As the years have gone by, temperatures keep rising as do sea levels. Coral reefs have seen change, and some death, if the water temperatures have been too high. Pollution, trash, acidification, and spills into the ocean only add to their destruction.
The scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have been examining the ocean through detailed images they receive via satellites. These satellites were originally launched for the observation of the land. As an additional benefit to conserving our planet, the images that are produced help the scientists map reefs in a fraction of the time it would take them otherwise. Locating the coral reefs and seeing which need the most help has only become easier and a faster process for them.
Only a small percentage of the world's coral reefs have been studied. The limited studies show that about 33 to 50 percent of the world's coral reefs have been degraded or lost as per NASA. As per their Earth Observatory report, 27% of the coral reef reformations (which are monitored) have been lost and about 32% are at risk of being lost in the next 32 years.
NASA’s three year field study named “CORAL” (which stands for Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory) will begin sometime this year.
The main focus of CORAL is to measure the conditions of the coral reefs and predict their futures. The Principal Investigator of CORAL is Eric Hochberg of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean #Science. NASA will unleash the study by attaching advanced instruments -- Portable Remote Imaging Spectrometer (PRISM) -- to airplanes. These instruments will measure the amounts of coral, algae, sand, water, and the atmosphere.
The first coral reef systems to be studied will be within the areas of Hawaii, Palau, the Mariana Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef. In Florida, there will be a testing area for operations. Data is planned to be collected through 2017 and will be analyzed the following two years. #News