How Technology is Used to Track Climate Change : Earth Observational Satellites
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Understanding the environment and getting the whole picture of the climatological state is how decision-makers and the general public can best respond to climate change. Since 1958, starting with Explorer 1, satellites have been launched into space to connect and observe the world. I had the opportunity to participate in the Applied Remote Sensing Education and Training (ARSET) program that is taught by NASA. Through these courses and other research, I learned how satellite data is collected, processed, and applied to environmental studies and education. Focusing on Lake Erie, I studied how satellite data tracks and monitors the growth of harmful algal blooms. This data shows how phosphorus runoff from the surrounding farms creates optimal conditions for the algae and this data can be used by policymakers to regulate commercial farming in the area. Along with this, response teams can replicate this data to predict where future blooms may form. Other types of satellite data can be applied to monitoring manufacturers’ carbon emissions, responding to disasters, and educating the general public with climate models, along with being applied to many other areas. However, public access to satellite data questions the ethics of privacy and raises the potential for malicious intent. Newer satellite technology has the potential of capturing even clearer data and applying artificial intelligence (AI) which can be used to process and implement ethical theories.