NASA, water tests debunk claims by activists

11 April 2017

Satellite imagery depicting pictures of what was purported to be a coal spill from the Abbot Point port into wetlands have been shown as a clear misrepresentation of the satellite imagery supplied by NASA.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said NASA’s own website provided further evidence that the information supplied to the ABC by the Mackay Conservation Group was incorrect.

“It’s disgraceful that satellite imagery was misrepresented as coal particles in the water by the Mackay Conservation Group when in fact NASA’s website clearly says water absorbs light so it is usually black in the images.”

“Similar photos taken in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie show black water in the imagery which included swimming pools and waterways nowhere near coal terminals.”

In a statement Adani confirmed they were not only acting within its Temporary Emissions Licence (TEL) from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) but have not exceeded its normal licence limits.

“It’s time these extreme tactics of environmental activists were exposed and all media outlets should be alert to the constant misrepresentation of the truth by groups opposed to economic development in Queensland,” said Mr Macfarlane.

Media contact: Anthony Donaghy 0412 450 360


NASA website

Define Colors

The colors in an image will depend on what kind of light the satellite instrument measured. True-color images use visible light—red, green and blue wavelengths—so the colors are similar to what a person would see from space. False-color images incorporate infrared light and may take on unexpected colors. In a true color image, common features appear as follows:


Water absorbs light, so it is usually black or dark blue. Sediment reflects light and colors the water. When suspended sand or mud is dense, the water looks brown. As the sediment disperses, the water’s color changes to green and then blue. Shallow waters with sandy bottoms can lead to a similar effect. Sunlight reflecting off the surface of the water makes the water look gray, silver, or white.