Happy Holidays from the IOCCG

The Chairman and Staff of the IOCCG Project Office extend their best wishes to the ocean-colour community over the festive season.


9th Meeting of the IOCCG

Taj Residency Hotel

The ninth committee meeting of the International Ocean-Colour Coordinating Group will take place from January 15-17, 2004 at the Taj Residency Hotel in Hyderabad, India.

A number of issues will be addressed during the meeting, including climate quality data records for ocean colour, assimilating ocean-colour data into various models, reviewing the progress of IOCCG working groups and reviewing various proposals for new capacity building initiatives.

South American Project Receives Funding

In July of this year, the IOCCG sponsored an advanced workshop in Mar del Plata, Argentina, to help a group of young researchers from South America develop a proposal to establish an integrated network of in situ and remote sensing stations around the continent. This network would be called ANTARES. The long-term objective of this initiative is to detect and understand the impact of climate change and human activity on coastal ecosystems of South America through regionally-coordinated and integrated actions, and to provide an effective vehicle for training and capacity building for professionals in the region.

The first step in the project was to submit a small grant proposal to IAI (Inter American Institute for Global Change Research), for the creation of an interactive database of satellite ocean-colour images, to be called CESAR (Coastal Ecosystem of the South American Region). It was proposed that a weekly time series of high resolution (1 km) maps of satellite-derived chlorophyll concentration will be constructed for the entire South American coastal ecosystem, supplemented by other relevant satellite data (SST, winds) and also by in situ observations. Simple web-based software tools will be provided to sample the data quantitatively, and all information and data will be made available to the public via the internet.

The Principal Investigator, Dr. Osvaldo Ulloa, was delighted to hear this week that the proposal for the CESAR project had been approved, and would be funded by IAI. On behalf on the IOCCG we would like to congratulate the team and wish them the best of luck with this ambitious project, and to the continuation of other elements under the umbrella of ANTARES.

MERIS User Workshop 2003

In November 2003, more than 150 researchers from across Europe, Canada, the US and many other countries, gathered at the ESA ESRIN Centre in Frascati to discuss the many and varied uses of the MERIS ocean-colour instrument. This was the first time that users of MERIS products could discuss their results (previous meetings dealt with calibration and validation issues).

The workshop included more than 50 presentations, together with poster sessions, training in the BEAM Software used for data processing. Prof. André Morel co-chaired a special session on MERIS water products. The general consensus was that the results obtained from MERIS were reliable and that the performance of the MERIS instrument was living up to the promise of its original design. Further details can be found on the ESA Website.

The next ENVISAT Symposium will be held on 6 to 10 September 2004 in Salzburg, Austria. The symposium will be open to all interested parties, from scientists to operational users, and will cover both ENVISAT and ERS missions.

News From NASA

New Contract for SeaWiFS ?

The current contract between NASA and ORBIMAGE for use of SeaWiFS data for research expired on 19 December 2003. The good news is that a new contract is expected to be signed sometime in the near future. According to the latest update from Dr. Paula Bontempi of NASA HQ “There are a few unresolved issues that have come up with regard to the down link frequency for the SeaWiFS data. At this juncture I cannot give you a specific date that NASA will resume being a SeaWiFS data distributor until these issues are fully resolved. I will continue to keep you all updated as things unfold and a specific contract date precipitates.”

Sounds like good news for the ocean-colour community for the New Year!

Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs

According to NASA scientist Dr. Liane Guild, coral reef health may be estimated efficiently from sensors on airplanes and satellites in the future. One of the first steps Liane and co-workers took to develop aerial coral monitoring, was to take undersea light-reflectance readings of elkhorn coral using handheld spectroradiometers. The collected data will be compared to readings taken during aerial surveys. Ultimately, hyperspectral instruments, containing many detectors that collect information in the visible light range will be used to provide useful information about coral-reef community health from above the sea. Further details can be found on the NASA Website.

Postdoctoral Associate Position

A postdoctoral associateship position has been recently approved in support of coastal ocean research at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) under the supervision of Chuck McClain. The research will be part of a recently selected three-year NASA Interdisciplinary Study. The IDS will utilize satellite ocean color data (primarily SeaWiFS and MODIS) and coupled physical-ecological-carbon models to infer carbon pools, processes, and transport in these regions. The postdoctoral associate will assist in the processing and interpretation of the satellite data in collaboration with other team members. For more information, see the job posting or contact Chuck McClain at

Ocean Research Conference

February 15-20, 2004 · Honolulu, Hawaii · USA

The ASLO/TOS 2004 Conference Program Book is now available in PDF format. The book contains daily schedules including session schedules, plenary speaker bios and abstracts as well as a comprehensive author index. Further information regarding the conference is available on the ASLO website.

Satellite Oceanography and
Image Analysis Course

A training course, organized and sponsored by the Peruvian National Meteorology and Hydrology Service (SENAMHI), Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal, Geomap Digital S.A.C. and WimSoft, was held on October 14-16, 2004 in Lima.

During the course, 33 students from a variety of government and private organizations, received hands-on training in manipulating and processing data from various satellite sensors. The emphasis was on remotely-sensed measurements of ocean colour, sea-surface temperature and wind. Dr. Mati Kahru of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography,lectured at the course and was assisted by Gino Passalacqua (Universidad Villareal) and Anibal Diaz (GeoMap). The course allowed the students to gain practical experience in using satellite images in their work. Throughout the course the software contributed by WimSoft was used.

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