An image taken by a NASA satellite shows polluted Carolina rivers spilling into the ocean in the aftermath of severe flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.
Dark spots on the aerial image show debris from the storm as well as soil and decaying leaves filling up the waterways on the Atlantic coast.
The picture, which was captured by NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite, shows the pollution in White Oak River, New River and Adams Creek in North Carolina.
Another pair of images – one in the aftermath of the hurricane and another from a year earlier – show how the flood waters had devastated the landscape.
A picture captured by NASA’s Landsat-8 satellite shows polluted rivers spilling into the Atlantic Ocean on the Carolina coast, with soils, sediments, decaying leaves, pollution, and other debris discoloring the water in the wake of Hurricane Florence
This diagram uses the visible image above and infrared data from the satellite to show colored dissolved organic matter in Carolina’s waterways and the Atlantic Ocean. The darker brown areas have a higher quantity of the organic matter
What is NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite?
The Landsat 8 satellite orbits the Earth and takes pictures of the entire planet every 16 days.
It carries an Operational Land Imager (OLI) with a deep blue spectral band designed especially for observing water and coastal areas.
The OLI observed the pictures of the coast in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Landsat 8 is also equipped with a Thermal Infrared Sensor.
It orbits at around 428 miles (705 km) above Earth, 178 miles (286km) above the International Space Station.
Launched in 2013, it is a more advanced version of the previous satellites and is able to capture a greater array of light.
The first Landsat satellite was launched in July 1972. The two most recent – Landsat 7, launched in 1999, and Landsat 8 – are still active.
Landsat 9 is scheduled to be launched in December 2020, according to NASA’s website.
‘Organic matter – such as leaves, roots, or bark – contain pigments and chemicals such as tannins that can color the water when they dissolve,’ NASA said.
‘Depending on the amount of dissolved particles, the water in natural-color imagery can appear blue, green, yellow, or brown as the CDOM concentration increases.
‘The natural color image from Landsat 8 reveals how soils, sediments, decaying leaves, pollution, and other debris have discolored the water in the swollen rivers, bays, estuaries, and the nearshore ocean.’
North Carolina’s Trent River reached a record high level of 29 feet at the height of the hurricane on September 17, experts said.
The river was one of 16 in the state which reached the major flood stage, according to the National Weather Service’s definition.
The weather service defines it as ‘extensive inundation of structures and roads’, according to its website, which may destroy infrastructure and cause a ‘high degree of danger’ to residents.
False-color images, one from July 14 last year and another from September 19 last week, show how the river had risen, filling roads and homes with water.
As rivers continue to swell thousands of people living on the coast are getting ready to evacuate with flooding of up to 10 feet on the way.
Around 6,000 to 8,000 people in Georgetown County, South Carolina, are bracing for record flooding more than a week after the hurricane made landfall.
A false-color image taken from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite shows the Trent River on July 14, 2017, unaffected by the flood waters of Hurricane Florence. During the extreme weather it reached a record high level of 29 feet