News from the IOCCG

Proceedings of the First IOCS Meeting

The IOCCG convened the first International Ocean Colour Science meeting in the City of Darmstadt, Germany, from 6-8 May 2013. EUMETSAT and NASA were the main sponsors and organizers of the meeting, with additional support being obtained from ESA and CNES which is gratefully acknowledged. In total, 244 scientists from 36 different countries participated in the highly successful three-day meeting, including representatives of all the major space agencies with an interest in ocean-colour radiometry, thus helping to bring together both the users and the providers of ocean-colour data for in depth discussions of detailed requirements for ocean-colour products and services


One of the concrete outcomes of the first IOCS meeting is a comprehensive report of the proceedings of the meeting, which summarizes all agency talks, keynote presentations, and the outcomes of the various splinter sessions. It also provides a synthesis of the major recommendations from the 12 breakout splinter sessions, which can be used by space agencies and interested scientists to better understand the current state of the art. Many of these recommendations and key messages could be potentially followed up in the form of a workshop, so splinter session chairs were invited to submit proposals for follow-up workshops to pursue the goals and outcomes of their splinter sessions. These proposals will be evaluated by the IOCCG Executive Committee and a number of workshops will be supported by IOCCG in the coming months. All the presentations from the meeting are available at:

Second Summer Lecture Series

Due to the success of the first IOCCG Summer Lecture Series, and the overwhelming demand for the course, we are now starting to make plans for another Summer Lecture Series. The course will once again take place at the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche (LOV) in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France, and will tentatively be held from 7 – 19 July 2014. Further updates will be made public as planning progresses.

Recent Publications

Several new publications have been added to the IOCCG Recent References list, including a paper by Cherkasheva et al. (2013) which derives and describes the characteristic Greenland Sea Chl profiles, categorized according to the surface Chl concentration, with monthly resolution. The database consists of 1199 Chl profiles collected during fourteen Arctic expeditions with R/Vs Polarstern and Maria S Merian, combined with data from the ARCSS-PP database (Arctic primary production in situ database) for the years 1957-2010. The derived Gaussian approximations of the profiles generally reproduce the magnitude and position of the Chl maximum, resulting in an average 4% underestimation in total Chl (and 2% in rough primary production estimates) when compared to in-situ estimates. This is a major improvement compared to the total Chl values obtained from Morel and Berthon (1989) profiles (14% overestimation), or uniform profiles. The mathematical approximations are to be used as the input to the satellite-based primary production models that estimate primary production in the Arctic regions. .

Cherkasheva fig
Left: Greenland Sea monthly mean Chl profiles categorized according to low (top) and high (bottom) Chl within the surface layer (Cpd). Right: profiles estimated from global relationships (click to enlarge).

In another new paper by Melin et al. (2013) the aerosol products derived from the SeaWiFS, MODIS-Aqua and -Terra ocean colour missions are compared with field measurements from globally distributed AERONET sites. Validation statistics are found to be consistent for the three missions. The median absolute relative difference between SeaWiFS and AERONET aerosol optical thickness, τa, is approximately 20% at all bands, while it is slightly higher for both MODIS products (between 20% and 28%). This is associated with a larger relative bias (median of relative differences between satellite and AERONET τa), of the order of +15% for these missions. With respect to previous processing versions, a noticeable improvement is seen in the representation of the spectral dependence of τa. The bias found for the Ångström exponent varies from -0.08 to +0.13 for the three missions. Acknowledging the fact that the products associated with the considered ocean colour missions do not cover the upper range of aerosol optical thickness, the validation statistics obtained for these products appear at least as good as those obtained for satellite missions dedicated to aerosol retrievals.

New WASI-2D Tool

The WASI (Water Colour Simulator) tool for the simulation of optical properties and light field parameters of deep and shallow waters has been extended by the WASI-2D module, which can process atmospherically corrected images from both space-borne and airborne sensors. Data analysis is done by inverse modeling. The provided database covers the spectral range from 350 to 1000 nm in 1 nm intervals, and can be exchanged easily to represent the study area of choice. The executable program, including user manual, can be downloaded from the IOCCG website. See the recent publication by Peter Gege for further information on WASI-2D.

Employment Opportunities

Several new positions have been added to the Employment Opportunities section of the IOCCG website including post-doctoral research opportunities in Cape Town (South Africa), University of South Florida (USA), Université du Littoral-Côte d’Opale and the Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de Géosciences (France) and Masdar Institute, Abu Dhabi (UAE). See details on the IOCCG website at

News from NASA

VIIRS Ocean Colour Data Update

NASA's OBPG has reprocessed the NASA ocean colour evaluation products from NPP-VIIRS to version 2013.1. The primary purpose of the reprocessing was to update the temporal calibration with an improved instrument degradation model derived from the latest solar diffuser measurements. The primary impact is to reduce an apparent upward drift in the blue bands. Details are posted at
All NPP-VIIRS ocean colour products distributed by the OBPG have been updated to R2013.1.

MODIS-Aqua Update

NASA logo

The OBPG has detected significant calibration-related artifacts in the most recent MODIS-Aqua ocean colour products resulting from residual mirror-side differences in the MODIS-Aqua instrument calibration. The MODIS Calibration Support Team (MCST) is working on a solution and NASA anticipates a partial reprocessing of MODIS-Aqua ocean colour in the coming month(s). In the interim they will likely implement a discontinuous statistical correction to reduce the artifacts in forward stream products.

MODIS-Terra Reprocessing

A full mission reprocessing of MODIS-Terra ocean colour is now underway: approximately a million files (2000-2013) have been processed to Level-2 and are available on-line. The final Level-3 binning process is now being done and should be completed shortly. Note that the latter period of MODIS-Terra now relies on MODIS-Aqua for cross-calibration corrections. Given the issues with MODIS-Aqua in 2013, the quality of MODIS-Terra in the 2013+ period is also limited, and subsequent updates to the 2013+ period for both missions are anticipated. Further details can be found on NASA's Ocean Color Forum.

SeaWiFS Update

NASA recently announced that ALL SeaWiFS (OrbView-2) data that were collected during the mission (September 1997-December 2010) in GAC, LAC or HRPT format is now in the public domain. The NASA OceanColor website has been updated accordingly.

HRTP coverage They are also making great progress in recovering additional SeaWiFS HRPT data, especially covering the 2005-2010 period, and have added thousands of new files to the archive, for example from areas such as the southern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific (lighter shaded areas). They are also in discussion with many additional ground stations around the world who are actively working on making their holdings available to NASA (and the international research community).

HICO Data Availability

HICO images NASA has decided to continue to support and expand the use of the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) instrument, which has been flying on board the International Space Station since 2009, and which completed its primary mission of collecting coastal ocean data for civilian and naval research last year. Data collected by HICO is now starting to become available for distribution on NASA's OceanColor web multi-mission browser, beginning with data collected in 2013. Historical data (2009 - 2012) should follow.

HICO files 15Oct09-7Aug13 By making the data available via this common interface, cross-mission searches are possible for all the ocean colour data sets that NASA supports. For further details on how to acquire HICO data, see the full NASA announcement.

News from ESA

Living Planet Symposium

HRTP coverage The 2013 European Space Agency Living Planet Symposium will be held in Edinburgh, UK, from 9 to 13 September 2013, attracting scientists from around the world, including the Sentinels research and development community. The symposium will cover a wide variety of themes from oceanography to land applications, and will include several session dedicated to ocean colour. Among the objectives of the symposium are to present the results of the various ESA Earth Observation missions, to review the development of applications, and to report on ESA's Climate Change Initiative. In addition, the Symposium will provide an opportunity to introduce ESA missions in development (e.g. Sentinel-3). For further information on the symposium see:

S3VT Meeting

The Sentinel-3A satellite is due for launch at the end of 2014. As part of the mission preparation activities, a Sentinel-3 Validation Team (S3VT) has been established by ESA and EUMETSAT to assist in the scientific validation of mission products. The aim of the S3VT is “To engage world-class expertise and activities, through mutual benefit collaboration, that support the implementation of the Sentinel-3 validation activities and ensure the best possible outcomes for the Sentinel-3 mission” with the objective “To provide independent validation evidence, experimental data and recommendations to the S3 Mission”.

Submissions to the S3VT Call for collaborative Validation Proposals have been reviewed by a joint ESA-EUMETSAT panel. The call was extremely successful with 80 proposals from 20 countries (including non-ESA member states) covering all S3 domains.

The First S3VT Workshop will be held 26-29th November 2013 at ESA/ESRIN. The meeting is planned to consist of plenary information talks to coordinate the S3VT, sub-group working sessions, a poster session and a plenary review.

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

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