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Introduction to Remote Sensing of Harmful Algal Blooms

11:00–12:00 and 21:00–22:00 EDT (UTC-4)

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can have a negative impact on the ecosystem and human health. Satellite remote sensing is able to collect data frequently and over a large area to identify impaired water quality from HABs. This data can inform decision-makers on where best to put their resources for taking water samples, determine what toxins are in the water, whether they need to change or move drinking water intakes, and whether a fishery needs to be closed. Remote sensing data enables individuals and organizations to have more flexible plans for water sampling. It also leads to a more efficient and appropriate allocation of resources for protecting human health.

Learning Objectives: 

By the end of the training, attendees will be able to: 

  • identify NASA’s Earth Science remote sensing data products for the identification and monitoring of HABs 
  • describe how coupled remote sensing and modeling approaches are used in decision support tools
  • use a selection of NASA Earth Science data tools to monitor HABs
Course Format: 
  • Four, one hour sessions
  • Sessions will be held on Tuesdays in September: September 5, 12, 19, and 26 at 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. or 21:00-22:00 p.m. EDT (UTC-4)
  • A certificate of completion will be provided to participants that attend all live webinars and complete all homework assignments. Note: Certificates of completion only indicate the attendee participated in all aspects of the training. They do not imply proficiency on the subject matter, nor should they be seen as a professional certification.

Complete Session 2C: Fundamentals of Aquatic Remote Sensing or have equivalent experience. Attendees that do not complete prerequisites may not be properly prepared for the pace during the training.


Local, regional, state, federal, and international organizations interested in using satellite imagery for coastal and ocean applications. Governmental and non-governmental organizations in the public and private sectors engaged in environmental management and monitoring will be given preference over organizations focused primarily on research.

Registration Information: 

There is no cost for the webinar, but you must register to view the recordings below. 

Session One: Overview of Harmful Algal Blooms

September 5, 2017

An overview of marine and freshwater HABs, how HABs can affect ecosystems and human health, in situ monitoring methods of HABs, how remote sensing detects HABs, examples of HAB monitoring tools, and the advantages and limitations of using remote sensing in aquatic environments.   



Session Two: Platforms and Sensors for Ocean Observations, Data Access, and Processing Tools

September 12, 2017

Satellites and sensors for HAB detection and monitoring (subset in fundamentals of remote sensing: MODIS, VIIRS, Sentinel 2-a & 3, and Landsat 8), ocean color data products used to monitor and detect HABs, NASA satellite data access tools, NASA satellite data processing tools (including SeaDAS), and how to create an automated tool.



Session Three: Understanding HABs in the Coastal Environment

September 19, 2017
Featuring Guest Speaker: Clarissa Anderson, Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System

How HABs affect marine ecosystems and human health, an overview of coupled model and remote sensing tools for understanding HABs, an accuracy assessment, a demonstration of Clarissa Anderson’s California Harmful Algae Risk Mapping (C-HARM) System.



Session Four: Large Scale Monitoring Using Remote Sensing and Citizen Science

September 26, 2017
Featuring Guest Speaker: Wilson Salls, EPA CyAN Project

An overview of cyanobacterial HABs, freshwater cyanoHAB monitoring tools (e.g. HAB Tracker, Great Lakes HAB bulletin), how citizen science can be used for HAB monitoring, and a course summary.



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