Finding the Red in the Red Tide

This false-color image reveals the harmful algae bloom responsible for a "red tide" in Florida.

Blooms of the algae Karenia brevis — known as a red tide — bring havoc to Gulf Coast shores. The algae can kill fish and other marine life, and it causes skin irritation and even respiratory problems for humans. But in spite of the moniker, these algae can be hard to spot; they can add a green, brown, red, or black hue to the water.

The false-color image above uses a new image processing technique that reveals the bloom. Using satellite images taken over multiple days, scientists can track and study the red tide in unprecedented detail. The new technique will be a boon to those trying to monitor and understand red tides. (Image credit: Y. Yao/USF/Planet Labs/L. Dauphin; via NASA Earth Observatory)

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