Scientists funded by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), used Landsat 5 satellite data to look at changes in wetlands areas in south Florida, particularly south and west of Lake Okeechobee.
Using satellite data, land-cover change history, computer models, and weather records, the researchers found a link between the losses of wetlands and more severe freezes in some agricultural areas of south Florida. In other areas of the state, changes in land use resulted in slightly warmer conditions. They concluded, based on the study, the conversion of wetlands by itself may be enough of a trigger to enhance damage inflicted upon agriculture in these areas of south Florida during freezes events.
The Landsat 5 satellite was constructed and launched by NASA, and its data are processed and distributed by the USGS. The researchers studied three freeze events and simulated the conditions with a computer climate model, using weather and land-cover change records. The freezes took place on December 26, 1983, December 25, 1989, and January 19, 1997.
Gretchen Cook-Anderson | EurekAlert!
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