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.


New date for Uruguay Training Course

The training course on "Remote Sensing of Ocean Colour in Open, Coastal, and Estuarine Waters" has been postponed, and will now take place from 4 - 15 April 2005 at the Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Uruguay. This is the eighth intensive training course to be organized and sponsored by IOCCG, along with several other training workshops and meetings. The course is designed primarily for students from Latin America and will carry graduate credits from the Universidad de la República. The emphasis of the course will be on applications of ocean colour relevant to the South American region, and will consist of lectures by specialists as well as practical sessions. Prospective students will be notified of the success of their applications early in the New Year.

Student Travel Grants for Conference

This year, the IOCCG will be offering travel scholarships for a few selected students from developing countries to attend the 8th International Conference on Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments (17-19 May 2005, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada). The students must be actively involved in ocean-colour research and must be presenting an accepted paper at the meeting.

10th IOCCG Committee Meeting

The IOCCG Committee will hold its 10th annual meeting on Margarita Island, Venezuela (19 - 21 January 2005) to co-ordinate the activities of the group as a whole and to plan and discuss future activities. The Committee will review the status of the various IOCCG scientific working groups and discuss proposals for new working groups. Capacity building initiatives will also be discussed, as well as involvement with ESA's new GlobCOLOUR Project. The 2nd ANTARES meeting (to co-ordinate a bio-optical network around South America) will take place immediately prior to the IOCCG meeting, at the same venue, and will also be co-sponsored by IOCCG.

IOCCG Calibration Workshop

Dr. Robert Frouin, Chairman of the IOCCG calibration working group, organized a one-day workshop on "In-flight Calibration of Satellite Ocean-Colour-Sensors", on 30 October 2004 in Fremantle, Australia, following the Ocean Optics XVII conference. The purpose of the workshop was to review the calibration of ocean-colour sensors, to compare various approaches to meet requirements, to identify problems and areas of improvements, and to make recommendations. About 20 investigators and scientists from the international ocean-colour community attended and contributed to the workshop with presentation material and ideas.

In the first part of the workshop, invited experts and representatives of international space agencies, gave invited talks on various aspects of calibration, including definitions and requirements, the various techniques developed and applied, and the selection of final calibration coefficients. (see for presentations). In the second part, issues centered around three major themes, i.e., calibration requirements, adequacy of calibration techniques, and definition of a common calibration strategy were discussed and recommendations worked out. The material presented at the workshop and the recommendations will be summarized in a formal IOCCG report.

ESA to Fund GMES

ESA has agreed to fund the next stage of the ESA component of the European GMES initiative (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) and has also approved funding for the space component of GMES. This will include architecture studies, ground segment design and initial definition studies for the five "sentinels" which will be the backbone of the future European Earth Observation System to monitor the environment. These activities will pave the way for the decision to be taken at the next ESA Council meeting (late 2005 or early 2006) on full implementation of GMES.

EARSeL Workshop

The European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories will be holding their 2nd workshop on Remote Sensing of the Coastal Zone from 9 - 10 June 2005 in Porto, Portugal, as part of the 25th EARSeL Symposium and General Assembly (6 - 11 June 2005). For further information please see:

Training and Education

SOLAS Summer School 2005

The SOLAS (Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study) Summer School is a biennial, international event that brings together over 70 students and 20 lecturers for a mix of lectures and practical workshops. It aims to teach the skills and knowledge of the many disciplines needed to understand the nature of biogeochemical and physical ocean-atmosphere interactions. It allows doctoral students and early-career researchers to see how their work fits into the broad canvas of SOLAS, and global change research more generally. For online application, details of the programme and more information see:

START Fellowships/Visiting Scientist Program

This program is designed to increase the number of developing country scientists who serve as active partners in global change research in START regional networks and projects of the Earth Science Partnership (IGBP, WCRP, IHDP and DIVERSITAS). START Fellowships are offered at the graduate and post-graduate levels to young scientists from Africa, Asia and Oceania to work under senior mentors in leading institutions. A parallel activity, START Visiting Scientist Award, allows more senior scientist from developing countries the opportunity to undertake short-term visits to major international laboratories. Further information and application forms are available on the START website

Employment Opportunities

A number of new positions in remote sensing have been added to the IOCCG Employment Opportunities section .

End of SeaWiFS

It was with deep regret that NASA recently announced that they were unable to reach a mutually acceptable arrangement with ORBIMAGE that would have allowed NASA to continue to acquire SeaWiFS data beyond the current contract, which expires on 23 December 2004. Consequently, any ocean-colour researchers who wish to continue using SeaWiFS data beyond that date must contact ORBIMAGE directly to arrange for continued access to the data.

Over the past seven years, SeaWiFS has provided an uninterrupted stream of global, internally consistent, climate-quality, ocean-colour data, with an unprecedented availability rate of over 98%. SeaWiFS is regarded as the benchmark against which all ocean-colour missions are compared, so it will be sorely missed by the entire ocean-colour community. I am sure you will all join us in thanking the efficient and friendly team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for their tirelessly efforts over the years in providing such high quality ocean-colour data to the user community, as well as providing years of SeaDAS software support and updates.

ORBIMAGE expects OrbView-2 to continue providing service for at least another 3 to 5 years and they have posted the following announcement:

"Dear Ocean Colour Research Community Member:
NASA's OrbView-2 (SeaWiFS) data buy for the Ocean Colour Research community will expire on December 23, 2004. ORBIMAGE is committed to maintaining access to OrbView-2 data for the ocean-colour research community at affordable prices. Information about pricing and research use of OrbView-2 data is now available at . Click on "[OrbView-2 (SeaWiFS) Research Access]" at the lower right to access the OrbView-2 Data Research Use Terms and Conditions Agreement, the Research Use Application form, and the price list. Current NASA OrbView-2 (SeaWiFS) Authorized Research Users will note that these forms are similar to those used under the NASA data buy agreement.

ORBIMAGE looks forward to continuing to serve your need for high quality ocean colour data for research use.

Questions? Please contact Customer Support:
Phone: 703-480-7539
Email: "

News from NASA

OCRT Meeting

The dates for NASA's next Ocean Colour Research Team (OCRT) meeting have been announced. The meeting will take place from 12 to 14 April 2005, in Portland, Oregon, USA. This year the focus of the meeting will be on ocean biology and biogeochemistry research, and all members of the ocean-colour community are encouraged to attend. Topics to be discussed at the meeting include:

  1. New measurements and findings in ocean colour science
  2. Ocean-colour algorithm and data product selection
  3. The evolution of ocean biology and biogeochemistry Earth Science data records
  4. Future NASA ocean-colour mission planning for both systematic observations and new technologies and research
  5. The recent transformation and reorganization of NASA.

Ocean Biology Processing Group

The Ocean Biology Processing Group (OCPG) has announced that a reprocessing of MODIS-Aqua data is planned before the end of the calendar year, and will include some of the processing algorithm enhancements resulting from various tests conducted since the last reprocessing in May. Before the reprocessing, OCPG will post its recommended changes in the baseline processing algorithms for comment. Evaluation results of proposed calibration and algorithm changes are posted here:

Preparations are also underway to reprocess the OCTS GAC mission archive, to incorporate the latest algorithm developments in use for SeaWiFS and MODIS/Aqua, and to make the data available on the Ocean Colour browser. Principal improvements will include recalibration with the straylight-corrected MOBY data, and use of the revised (reflectance-based) correction for non-zero water-leaving radiances in the near IR.

The SeaBASS data set has been expanded with contributed bio-optical data from the following regions: the Venezuelan coast, the Gulf of Maine, the eastern mid-Atlantic, Monterey Bay, and the western north-Pacific. For details, see:

The SeaBASS bio-optical algorithm data set was used to verify and review a number of existing empirical algorithms, including the suite of ocean colour chlorophylls (e.g., OC4 version 4) and K490. The OBPG initiated this activity, in part, as part of an ongoing exercise to evaluate and apply quality control metrics to the validation and algorithm data set.

New References

A number of new references have been added to the Recent Ocean-Colour References section of the IOCCG website, including an abstract by Beman, Matson and Arrigo to be presented at the fall AGU meeting. These authors used SeaWiFS, MODIS and AVHRR imagery from the Gulf of California to demonstrate, for the first time, the link between large-scale coastal farming and massive phytoplankton blooms that are potentially harmful to marine life and fisheries. Scientists have long suspected that many harmful algal blooms are fueled by fertilizer runoff from farming operations, which in many regions pour tons of excess nitrogen and other nutrients into rivers that eventually flow into coastal waters. However, some agricultural industry groups contend that there is not enough evidence to link farm runoff to red tides or dead zones (oxygen-depleted areas caused by excessively large blooms).

By examining five years of satellite data, the authors demonstrated that N inputs from terrestrial agricultural activities in the adjacent Yaqui Valley influence, or interact with, marine ecosystem processes in the Gulf of California. Their data showed close correspondence between fertilization/irrigation events and elevated chlorophyll concentrations off the coast. After each irrigation event, an enormous bloom appeared within a matter of days, covering from 50 to 577 square kilometers of the Sea of Cortez and lasting several days. Using spectral analysis and generalized linear models to remove the contribution of upwelling to the signal, the authors concluded that the residual signal was likely driven by agricultural N inputs.

Material for possible inclusion in the IOCCG Newsletter should be submitted to the Project Scientist.

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