Satellite image of Belize. Caption reads

Satellite data can now help us better understand when coral reefs are at risk. To assess whether Belize’s famous, UNESCO World Heritage-listed barrier reefs face climate damage, scientists used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), initially developed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland for the space agency’s Aqua satellite.

In a study published in A Frontiers of Remote Sensing, a team of 11 researchers from the U.S. and Belize analysed data collected between 2002 and 2022, to determine if climate change is warming Belize’s shallow waters to a degree that could cause mass coral bleaching and biodiversity loss. The 185-mile-long Belize Barrier Reef is home to a variety of marine species, some of which you may be able to listen to for science.

NASA’s toolkit is available to use for free, so that scientists can monitor coral reefs across the globe.


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