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You are here: GES DISC Home Education and Outreach Additional Features Science Focus Education HEALTH APPLICATIONS OF CZCS DATA


Two major health research groups now using Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) and other remote sensing data to study the interaction between vibrio cholerae and the environment are the Biotechnology Institute at the University of Maryland, and the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the HarvardMedical School.Both groups have recently recognized the value of ocean color, sea surface temperature and satellite derived sea surface height and turbidity data in their studies. Interesting correlations between environmental conditions and resurgence of cholera are now being discovered by augmenting traditional health study methods with satellite remote sensing data.

CZCS operated only from November, 1978 to June, 1986.Current ocean color data from the Japanese satellite ADEOS/OCTS and from the Goddard Space Flight Center SeaWiFS Project will soon be available from the Goddard DAAC.

bay of bengal CZCS CZCS Image of the Bay of Bengal
October 10, 1982

CZCS Palette

Tracking the Origins of Cholera:
A Paradigm for Climate and Human Epidimiology Interaction

Dr. Rita R. Colwell
University of Maryland
Biotechnology Institute

UMD researchers obtained data from the thermal channels on the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instrument to derive sea surface temperature (SST) and radar altimetry data from Topex/Poseidon to derive ocean height and sea level. From the data obtained and analyzed to date, the researchers at UMD have concluded that cholera cases in Calcutta, India are more numerous when the ocean is high and SST is elevated. Investigations of SST, phytoplankton and zooplankton relationships to incidence of cholera are currently in progress using Coastal Zone Color Scanner ocean color data obtained from the Goddard DAAC. They conclude that the relationship of selected climatological factors and cholera appears to be significant, bringing the potential of predicting conditions conducive to cholera outbreaks closer to reality.

Plankton Biomass and Cholera Outbreaks in Bangladesh
Paul R. Epstein, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Director
Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard Medical School
Oliver Wendell Holmes Society
260 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

The Harvard group hypothesizes that during an El Nino, changes in the timing and severity of the monsoon season occur,altering precipitation patterns, sea surface temperature in the Bay of Bengal, and the incidence of cholera in Dhaka. Cholera incidence may be ofgreater magnitude and duration due to a number of factors, including larger plankton blooms, which may induce severe coastal outbreaks of cholera under certain conditions.It must be recognized that there are correlations, although the most precise predictive model for cholera outbreaks in this region would include factors complex and difficult to quantify that are beyond the scope of this study.This group has attempted to design a model using combinations of four environmental parameters, (sea surface temperature, Southern Oscillation Index, precipitation anomalies, and a proxy for algal biomass derived from Coastal Zone Color Scanner data.The goal of this project was to create a predictive model, which may in turn point to possible mechanisms and lead to further study.

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Last updated: May 08, 2012 02:54 PM ET