Instagram: Satellite Sees More Green On Colorado River
Released on December 18, 2014
A pulse of water released down the lower reaches of the Colorado River last spring resulted in more than a 40 percent increase in green vegetation where the water flowed, as seen by the Landsat 8 satellite. The March 2014 release of water – an experimental flow implemented under a U.S.-Mexico agreement called "Minute 319" – reversed a 12-year decline in the greenness along the delta.
Analysis of satellite images of pre-flow August 2013 to post-flow August 2014, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) calculated a 43 percent increase in green vegetation along the route wetted by the flow, called the inundation zone, and a 23 percent increase in greening of the riparian zone, or the river banks.
Scientists presented these and other results this week at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Landsat 8 is a joint project of NASA and the USGS.