News from the IOCCG

IOCCG Summer Lecture Series

The first advanced IOCCG Summer Lecture Series "Frontiers in Ocean Optics and Ocean Colour Science" took place at the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche (LOV), France, from 2-14 July 2012 (see Dedicated to high-level training in the fundamentals of ocean colour science, and focussing specifically on current critical issues, the course attracted 106 applications from highly-motivated and well qualified students from around the world. Seventeen students from 12 different countries were selected to attend the course, and judging by their feedback, the course was a resounding success and offered an unprecedented opportunity for the students to learn from the top scientists in this field (see course report).

Students SLS 2012
Students and lecturers attending the IOCCG 2012 Summer Lecture Series at the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche (LOV), France (click on image to enlarge).

Thirteen distinguished research scientists delivered lectures on a diverse range of topics (see lecture summaries), followed by in-depth discussions sessions and a few practical hands-on sessions. Students found the course to be challenging but an invaluable experience for their current research as well as future careers. Because of the overwhelming interest in the course and the excellent feedback from the students, the IOCCG will endeavour to conduct such training courses every two years, funding permitting. Because of the limited number of students that could attend the training course, all the lectures were audio/video recorded and will be made available via the IOCCG website by October this year.

International OC Science Meeting

3 logos

The IOCCG is organizing the first International Ocean Colour Science (IOCS) meeting to provide a forum for discussion of various topics related to satellite ocean colour radiometry including algorithms, calibration/validation, ocean colour applications, and generation of ocean colour products for climate research, amongst others. The meeting is scheduled to take place in the Frankfurt area, Germany from 6 to 8 May 2013, and will be co-sponsored by NASA and EUMETSAT which are gratefully acknowledged. Space agency representatives will be present to discuss issues related to data from their respective agencies, as well as long-term agency plans and areas of cooperation. All international space agencies, institutions, and PIs or interested parties involved in ocean colour missions, research or applications are invited to attend the meeting, which will bring together users and providers of ocean colour data for in depth discussions of requirements for ocean colour products and services.

Darmstad conference center The meeting will encompass and also include NASA's annual Ocean Color Research Team (OCRT) meeting and ESA's MERIS Validation Team meeting. Specific sessions on Essential Climate Variables, including those related to ESA's Climate Change Initiative (CCI), will also be incorporated. Furthermore, sessions will address the transition into routine and sustained ocean colour operations by NOAA and EUMETSAT. The full program will be finalized in the next few months and will include splinter sessions, panel discussions and keynote speakers. See for the first announcement, and remember to bookmark your calendars!

IOCCG Report on Geostationary Missions

IOCCG Report 12 Ocean colour observations from a geostationary orbit can greatly improve our ability to manage coastal resources because of the high revisit frequency (~every hour) and potentially improved spatial and spectral sampling. Data can be used to follow episodic events at the scale of hours (e.g. red tides, sediment transport), improve the match between the temporal scale of satellite observations and those of models, examine the daily cycle of ocean properties (e.g. aerosols), and eliminate the effect of clouds from ocean-colour measurements (see excellent examples from the Korean GOCI sensor). The IOCCG working group on Ocean-Colour Observations from a Geostationary Orbit, chaired by David Antoine, has completed their report on this topic (IOCCG Report 12, low resolution file) and will be printed by NOAA within the next few weeks. Hardcopies of the report will be mailed via surface mail to all subscribers on the IOCCG mailing list after printing has been completed. Note that the printing of Report 11 (Argo floats) was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, but should be available shortly.

Polar Seas Working Group

Polar Seas WG

The IOCCG working group on Remote Sensing of Ocean Colour in Polar Seas, co-chaired by Marcel Babin (Takuvik Joint Laboratory, CNRS-France, Université Laval-Canada), Kevin Arrigo (Stanford University, USA) and Simon Bélanger (Université du Québec à Rimouski, Canada), was created in 2011 to review and address specific issues related to the use of remote sensing of ocean colour in polar regions, specifically the prevailing low sun elevation, the ice-related adjacency and sub-pixel contamination effects, the relative proportions of the optical components in sea water affecting the ocean colour algorithms, the pronounced deep chlorophyll maxima and the persistent cloud cover.

The working group recently held its second meeting, which was hosted by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (La Jolla, USA) from 14 - 15 August 2012. Twelve WG members attended the meeting and discussed the detailed content of the IOCCG report. They agreed on data processing and sensitivity analyses to be conducted for the completion of each chapter. The report will include an overview of the polar environment (sun, cloud and ice), from TOA to the ocean sub-surface at high latitudes, IOPs, AOPs and ocean colour algorithms for various products, as well as primary production in polar seas. The minutes of the meeting will be posted on the WG website shortly (see

Atmospheric correction over coastal waters

The international symposium "Atmospheric correction over coastal waters: uncertainties and perspectives" took place at the Laboratoire d'Océanologie et de Géosciences in Wimereux, France, from 13-14 June, 2012. It was sponsored by CNES, the Université de Lille 1, the Université du Littoral-Côte d'Opale, the Région Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the Campus de la Mer, and gathered 17 European and International scientists. The first day focused on oral presentations from each participant. The goal was to present the state-of-art on the atmospheric correction algorithms and the different approaches that exist for processing ocean colour satellite data over turbid waters. The second day focused on round table discussions about the existing difficulties and possibilities to improve the accuracy of the atmospheric correction algorithms. A major discussion centered around an opportunity to carry our a round-robin exercise to understand the limitations and advantages of each algorithm, including what kind of datasets to use, which sensors, what type of algorithms and waters and which parameters to compare. Further information regarding the workshop, including presentations can be found at: The main outcome of the international symposium is the writing of a proposal for a new IOCCG working group.

News from NASA

Remote Sensing of Coastal & Inland Waters

Coastal WS The NASA sponsored "Workshop for Remote Sensing of Coastal and Inland Waters" was held 20-22 June 2012 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA). The 53 participants included researchers from the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, Estonia, and Germany. The workshop goals were to summarize the current state of remote sensing in complex waters, identify gaps in knowledge and data needs, identify priorities and provide a framework for near- and long-term science goals for remote sensing relevant to the quantification of environmental change in coastal and inland water bodies. Research questions addressed at the workshop encompassed products currently retrieved in coastal and inland water bodies, their associated uncertainties, state of current atmospheric correction and optical inversion schemes, relationships of optical and biogeochemical properties and considerations of scales of variability (spatial, temporal, spectral) captured with current and planned satellite missions.

The workshop consisted of seven linked sessions: remote sensing products and missions, algorithm approaches, relationships between optical, biogeochemical, biological, and ecological properties, in situ data availability and needs, scales of variability, end users, challenges and future plans, and lastly priorities for the future. Sessions included overview talks, short synoptic research presentations, and breakout discussions. Further information regarding the workshop, including presentations can be found at: Workshop outcomes will include a report to NASA and review journal article.

SeaDAS 7.0-beta Release

NASA’s SeaDAS Development Group has released the beta version of the new interface for SeaDAS (SeaDAS 7.0-beta). This is a major transition from an IDL-based interface to a JAVA interface that was developed in collaboration with Brockmann Consult, the German company that develops the BEAM image display and processing tool for many of ESA's missions. The melding of SeaDAS and BEAM will provide the ocean colour community with a common interface, vastly simplify SeaDAS software maintenance and new-instrument integration, and significantly expand the capabilities of both BEAM and SeaDAS. The program can be downloaded from For full details see the announcement on NASA’s OceanColor Forum.

Support for VIIRS Data

NASA’s Ocean Biology Processing Group is providing enhanced support for ocean colour data products derived from the VIIRS instrument on the NPP-Suomi platform. Following on the recent release of SeaDAS 7 with VIIRS processing and display support, the Ocean Color Web has now been upgraded to support the distribution of Level-1B through Level-3 VIIRS data products, including support for browse/search/download, bulk orders, subscriptions and Level-2 extraction services. The Level-1B, Level-2 and Level-3 products that are being distributing were calibrated and processed using standard NASA methodologies and software as described here. It is important to note that these are experimental, unvalidated products and are being distributed for evaluation purposes and community feedback only. See NASA’s OceanColor Forum for full announcement.

New Korean Ocean Science Institute

KIOST-logo The Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI) has driven the development of marine science and technology in Korea for over 40 years, making significant contributions to ocean colour research and applications. KORDI has also sponsored IOCCG activities and has an Executive Committee Member in the IOCCG. On 1st July 2012, the Korean government reinforced the function of KORDI to strengthen its contribution to the world of marine sciences and technology and officially changed its name to the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST). In the years ahead KIOST will work together with related industries, academia, and institutes as a highly upgraded partner in ocean research and education. It will also serve as a hub of the nation’s marine sciences network in cooperation with domestic and foreign organizations. For more information on KIOST please visit

New Publications

Several new publications have been added to the IOCCG Recent References list, including two papers by Shi and Wang (2012) on "Sea ice properties in the Bohai Sea measured by MODIS-Aqua" published in the Journal of Marine Systems. This study is the first to quantitatively derive and evaluate sea ice properties (e.g. sea ice albedo, thickness, sea ice coverage) with satellite ocean colour observations, using the SWIR-based atmospheric correction algorithm with MODIS bands at 1640 and 2130 nm. The first paper examined "Satellite algorithm development" and the second "Sea ice seasonal and interannual variability".

Shi and Wang(2012)
Normalized surface-leaving reflectance at wavelengths (a) 412 nm (deep blue), (b) 443 nm (blue), (c) 555 nm (green), (d) 645 nm (red), (e) 859 nm (NIR), and (f) 1240 nm (SWIR) derived from MODIS-Aqua measurements on 12 February 2010 (click on image to enlarge).

The authors proposed a regionally optimized ice-detection algorithm based on spectral features of the sea ice reflectance and applied this algorithm to MODIS-Aqua observations from 2002 to 2010 to study sea ice seasonal and interannual variability in the Bohai Sea. Sea ice coverage during the winter of 2009-2010 was approximately 5,427, 27,414, and 21,156 km2 for December, January and February respectively, which was significantly higher than the average monthly sea ice coverage from 2002-2010 of approximately 2,735, 11,119, and 10,287 km2 respectively. The anomalous sea ice activity during the 2009–2010 winter is attributed to large-scale climate changes due to the variability of the Arctic Oscillation and Siberian High.

In another new publication, Neukermans et al. (2012) followed up on the successful feasibility study of Neukermans et al. (2009) for mapping suspended particulate matter in turbid waters from the geostationary meteorological SEVIRI sensor. The spatial resolution and atmospheric correction are improved and the methodology is extended to the mapping of turbidity, T, and vertical attenuation of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), KPAR.

Neukermans et al. (2012)
(click on image to enlarge).

Based on a two year archive of SEVIRI images, which are available every 15 minutes, the authors show that the diurnal variability of T and KPAR recorded from moored buoys in turbid waters (see example in Figure above) is picked up well by SEVIRI. Despite large uncertainties in clearer waters, this is a remarkable result for a sensor designed to monitor clouds and ice, much brighter targets than the sea! This study provides a glimpse of what becomes possible when dedicated geostationary ocean colour sensors, such as the recent Korean GOCI sensor, become operational. Related publications and further information can be found in Griet Neukermans’s Ph.D. dissertation.

Employment Opportunities

Several new positions have been added to the Employment Opportunities section of the IOCCG website including three posts for Earth Observation Scientists at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK), several postdoctoral research opportunities (University of Stirling, UK; NIOZ Texel, Netherlands and NOAA/NMFS, USA) and a PhD position at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (Québec, Canada). For further details on these positions see:

Material for possible inclusion in the IOCCG Newsletter should be submitted to the Project Scientist, Dr. Venetia Stuart
(Email:, replace "-at-" with "@").

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