IOCCG Activities

Primary Production Training Course

Students The recent IOCCG co-sponsored training course on 'Primary production: Theory, modelling and estimation by remote sensing', was a resounding success. The course took place at the University of Concepción, Chile from October 21 to November 1, 2002. Some 26 students from 8 different countries attended the course, many of whom took the course for credit (see list of students).
The course format consisted of lectures in the morning and practical work in the computing laboratory in the afternoons. In addition students gave presentations on their own work, and also prepared a research proposal.

In the practical sessions, the students learned to use the software MATLAB, and to acquire and process ocean-colour data for regions of their interest. They also learned to apply MATLAB to the calculation of the submarine light field and of primary production. Lectures covered a wide range of material including spectral and non-spectral models of photosynthesis and ocean-colour algorithms for Case-1 and Case-2 waters. For a full report on the training course please see:

Symposium on Resource and Environmental Monitoring

ISPRS logo The ISPRS Technical Commission VII and the Indian Society of Remote Sensing have organized the "International Symposium on Resource and Environmental Monitoring" (Hyderabad, India, 3-6 December, 2002). On behalf of the IOCCG, Dr. Trevor Platt prepared a special presentation for the inaugural session entitled "Ecosystem response to physical forcing of the ocean: a baseline to discuss the potential effect of climate change". The role of hurricanes in increasing localised ocean productivity (using SST and satellite ocean-colour data) will be discussed as well as the importance of long-term ocean-colour data-sets for understanding the relationship between primary production and recruitment of the haddock fishery. A Special Session on Ocean Colour will also be held on 4 December, 2002.

Operational Ocean-Colour Working Group

At the recent meeting of the IOCCG Operational Ocean-Colour Working Group (17 November, 2002, Sante Fe), led by Dr. Christopher Brown of NOAA, the group agreed that their primary objective was the writing and publication of an IOCCG report entitled "Why Ocean Colour". The report will include sections on "Uses of Satellite Ocean Colour" as well as "Elements of Operational Ocean Colour". For further information on this meeting, please see the meeting summary.

Ocean-Colour Algorithm Working Group

The IOCCG ocean-colour algorithm working group also held their first meeting on 17 November, 2002, in Sante Fe. The meeting was chaired by Dr. ZhongPing Lee (Naval Research Laboratory), with some 40 people attending. There were two major outcomes of the meeting:

  1. It was recommended that a webpage be established on the IOCCG website to allow scientists to post abstracts of algorithm-related papers along with contact information.
  2. A large majority of the participants signed up to share their data (after publication). The format will be decided in the near future.
Some discussion also ensued about assembling a database of in situ measurements for algorithm testing and comparison. See the meeting summary for more details. No decisions were made about the time or place of the next algorithm workshop, but details will be posted in due course.


Envisat Validation Workshop

The European Space Agency (ESA) is organising a workshop in Frascati, Italy from 9-13 December 2002 to review the first results of the validation of the geophysical data products from its environmental satellite Envisat. The objectives of the Envisat Validation Workshop are:

  • to review the Level 2 product algorithms using the results of the validation campaigns,
  • to review the geophysical consistency of the Level 2 processor products,
  • to provide an error estimation of the Level 2 products,
  • to recommend instrument re-calibration and algorithm development where needed.
The validation activities, in conjunction with algorithm development, will not cease after the workshop but will continue throughout the entire mission lifetime. The workshop will start with a plenary introductory session, followed by parallel sessions. At the end conclusions and recommendations will be formulated in a plenary session. A preliminary agenda and workshop registration information is now available on-line.
Coccolithophore bloom off eastern Canada captured by MERIS, 10 August, 2002

Trends in Ocean Colour

To commemorate the diamond jubilee of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India, the Indian Journal of Marine Sciences will publish a thematic special issue entitled "Trends in Ocean Colour". Authors are invited to submit original research articles or review articles on any aspect of the thematic topic. Please notify one of the guest editors ( Dr. Shailesh Nayak or Dr. Trevor Platt) of your intention to submit a manuscript. Instructions to authors and press-ready format will be forwarded at a later date.


Several new conferences have been added to the IOCCG Workshops & Conferences page, including the HABWATCH "Workshop on real-time coastal observing systems for ecosystem dynamics and harmful algal blooms", 11-21 June 2003, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France. The deadline for applications and abstract submissions is 31 December 2002. The objectives for the workshop are to review real-time and near real-time sensing systems applicable for observation, modelling and prediction of plankton dynamics in coastal waters, including HABs. Present the underlying theory and review the possibilities together with the current issues and limitations. See for further details.

Chinese Ocean Colour Programme

To date, China has a total of three ocean-colour instruments in orbit. The Shen Zhou-3 (SZ-3) spaceship carrying CMODIS (Chinese Moderate Imaging Spectra Radiometer) was launched in March of this year, and the HY-1 satellite carrying the Chinese Ocean Colour and Temperature Scanner (COCTS) and the Coastal Zone Imager (CZI) was launched in May, 2002. Dr. Pan Delu presented some spectacular new images from CMODIS at the recent conference on "Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere, Ocean, Environment and Space (23-27 October, 2002, Hangzhou, China). CMODIS is a sophisticated instrument with a total of 34 channels (30 channels of 20 nm bandwidth in the visible, and four infrared channels). CMODIS Swath The orbit of SZ-3 is non-sun-synchronous and the coverage of CMODIS over China is shown in the image on the left. Preliminary analysis of prototype data from CMODIS indicates that the data is of high quality and can be used in inverse modelling to extract the concentrations of chlorophyll and suspended material, such as shown in the images below. CMODIS thus has great potential to monitor the coastal waters of China, which are dominated by Case 2 type waters. CMODIS chl (a) Chlorophyll and (b) suspended material mapped by CMODIS

News from Goddard

Science Focus!

The latest Science Focus! article entitled "The Papagayo Wind" examines how the gale-force winds that blow from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea and funnel through the narrow breaks in the Central American Cordillera can propagate localised algal blooms. For the full story see

SeaWiFS PAR Data Available

The GES DAAC has received and archived SeaWiFS Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) products, and made them both available online

MODIS Terra/Aqua Image

This image of Southern Africa is actually a composite image acquired by both the MODIS Terra and MODIS Aqua instruments on November 7, 2002. There is a difference of four hours and fifteen minutes between one side of southern Africa and the other in this true-color image; the Aqua instrument provided the left half of the image, while the Terra instrument provided the right half. The calibration of the two MODIS instruments is so accurate that it is possible to stitch together separate passes from each instrument into a virtually seamless image. For the full story see NASA's Earth Observatory website.

New References

The IOCCG page for recent references (2001-2002) dealing with satellite ocean-colour studies has been updated.

Role of phytoplankton in the Earth's climate system

Global solar flux Among the new references added is an article by Robert Frouin and Sam Iacobellis which appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research (Vol. 107, 2002). The article entitled "Influence of phytoplankton on the global radiation budget" discusses how phytoplankton can exert a significant and previously uncalculated influence on Earth's climate. The authors used CZCS-pigment imagery and radiation-transfer models to compute how much of the sun's radiation is absorbed by phytoplankton. They show that oceanic phytoplankton can exert a warming influence on the planet, decreasing the outgoing radiative flux on a global scale by around 0.25 W m-2, which could result in a global warming of the planet by 0.1 to 0.35oC (compared with an open seawater scenario without phytoplankton). This should be taken into account in future numerical models of climate change. The full story can be found here.

If you would like to see your recent references added to the IOCCG bibliography, please submit them to the webmaster.

Training Course

The UN-Affiliated Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education, which were endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1995, are responsible for providing post-graduate level training in 4 areas: Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System, Satellite Communications, Satellite Meteorology and Global Climate and Space and Atmospheric Sciences. The Regional Centre for the Latin America and the Caribbean Region will hold its first long-term training course at the post-graduate level by offering an 'International Course on Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System'. The course is intended for students from Latin America and the Carribean Region and will be held at the Brazilian Campus. The duration of the course is from March - December 2003. Deadline for applications is 15 December 2002, and the intake of students will be limited to 15. Funding support is available to successful applicants. Further information can be provided by:
Dra. Tania Maria Sausen, Coordenadora
CRECTEALC - Campus Brasil
Av. dos Astronautas, 1758 CxP 515
CEP 12245-970 Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Tel +55-12-3945-6862; Fax +55-12-3945-6870
E-mail: .htm

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