A plume of sediment flows into the northern Chesapeake Bay after several days of heavy rain in the Mid-Atlantic last week. This side-by-side image from the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite shows the Chesapeake Bay on July 19 and July 26. In the left hand image, the land appears brown due to dry conditions that dominated the first half of July. A week later, several inches of rain has turned the landscape lush green, while a high discharge from the Susquehanna River can be seen flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. In northern Maryland, authorities opened more than 20 floodgates of the Conowingo Dam to accommodate the higher than normal water volume, which exceeded flood stage.
NOAA CoastWatch is using satellite imagery to monitor the movement of the sediment plume and is reporting its progression to the National Marine Fisheries Service. NOAA Fisheries evaluates environmental conditions on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, which includes the effects of sediment on the bay's living marine resources, such as underwater grasses, fish, and other wildlife.
Although true-color images like this may appear to be photographs of Earth, they aren't. They are created by combining data from the three color channels on the satellite's VIIRS instrument sensitive to the red, green and blue (or RGB) wavelengths of light into one composite image. In addition, data from several other channels are often also included to cancel out or correct atmospheric interference that may blur parts of the image.