Global satellite lake monitoring led by Stirling University
A consortium of scientists led by the University of Stirling is attempting to create the world's first satellite-based global lake surveillance system.
The six universities and research institutes involved in the GloboLakes project have been awarded a £2.5m grant to develop the technology.
Scientists hope to use satellite images to monitor the impact of environmental change on lakes and reservoirs.
Researchers hope the system will allow them to detect minute variations.
The grant for the GloboLakes project has come from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).Expanding knowledge
The consortium developing the system is composed of the universities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
Researchers hope the new system will help expand their knowledge on how the ecological structure and function of lakes can be damaged by external changes such as the influx of certain nutrients, increased sediment and climate change.
Dr Andrew Tyler, head of biological and environmental sciences at the University of Stirling, will head the project.
He said: "Despite their importance and sensitivity to change only a very small number of lakes have been studied consistently and in any detail.
"This world-leading research will enable us to observe the conditions of over 1,000 lakes around the globe in a consistent way and also retrospectively, by using archived images from over a decade ago."Unprecedented monitoring
GloboLakes aims to provide scientists with the ability to monitor lakes on an unprecedented scale and the power to detect even the smallest changes.
It is also hoped that by monitoring other environmental conditions, the project will produce a step-change in scientists' ability to understand and attribute the causes of change within lakes, which has proved difficult in the past.
Prof Stephen Maberly, from the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said the use of the new technology would be an important development.
He said: "This project will help to cement the UK's position at the forefront of international research on freshwater ecosystems and will benefit the environment, society and industry.
"Information garnered will provide essential knowledge on the condition and response of lakes to environmental change, which will prove invaluable for the monitoring and management of lakes and reservoirs in the future."