Increasing ocean surface temperatures are contributing to more frequent harmful algal blooms (HABs) which are wreaking havoc on the blue economy. Fortunately, NASA will soon deploy a new technology which will drastically advance our ability to monitor, study, and prevent HABs, protecting both the environment and the economy.
In 2000, U.S. businesses lost an estimated $49 million due to HABs. Accounting for inflation, that’s more than $74 million in today’s dollars and HABs have only increased in frequency and severity since 2000. These losses stem from the closures of beaches, fisheries and other activities in order to protect the public’s health from the dangerous water quality. In addition to closures, HABs can lead to mass die-offs of marine life which then wash-up on the beaches and create a putrid odor that can be smelled for miles around.