IOCCG Committee Meeting in Paris

The 13th IOCCG Committee meeting took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France from 12-14 February 2008. The meeting was well attended by a total of 37 Committee members and invited guests. All participants were invited to attend an elegant reception at the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador to France on the first evening. A few of the highlights from the meeting are given below.

Many of the space agencies displayed a high level of interest in ocean-colour observations from a geostationary platform. CNES is currently performing R&D activities for a GEOCO mission (GEO Satellite for Ocean Colour), ISRO has plans for a High Resolution GEO Imager (HR-GEO), and KARI plans to launch their Geostationary Ocean Color Imager (GOCI) aboard the COMS-1 satellite in 2009. For this reason the IOCCG Committee unanimously accepted a proposal by David Antoine to form a new IOCCG working group to address ocean-colour observations from a geostationary orbit.

The new IOCCG BIO-Argo WG held its first meeting from 7-8 February 2008 in Villefranche. Argo floats with optical sensors have the potential to provide high density bio-optical-geochemical data and represent a promising avenue for synergetic applications with remote sensing of ocean colour. The working group recommended a preparatory phase for the “validation” of different floats, as well as a pilot study for the anticipated BIO-Argo program. The new SAFARI Project (Societal Applications in Fisheries & Aquaculture using Remotely-Sensed Imagery), an element of GEO (Group on Earth Observations), was also highlighted at the meeting.

An advanced training course/workshop on “Inversion procedures in ocean-colour remote sensing” will be sponsored by the IOCCG. The course is being organised by Roland Doerffer (GKSS) and will take place in Oct/Nov 2008 in Hamburg, Germany. Further information about all the above activities will be provided in due course.

GlobColour News

ESA’s GlobColour Project was established in November 2005 to develop a satellite-based, ocean-colour data set to support global carbon-cycle research. The aim of the project was to produce a consistently calibrated, global, ocean-colour data set with the best possible spatial coverage by merging data from SeaWiFS, MODIS and MERIS sensors. The Full Product Set (FPS), which covers global daily merged ocean-colour products from the time period 1997-2006, is now freely available for download. Updated information on the project is provided in the attached GlobColour Executive Summary, and can also be found on the GlobColour website.

Ocean Colour Accolades

Two members of the ocean-colour community recently received recognition. Chuck McClain (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) was elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), an honour bestowed upon a scientist who has attained acknowledged eminence in the geophysical sciences. The award ceremony will take place at the Joint Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 29 May 2008. In addition, former IOCCG member, Christopher Brown, was part of a NOAA group that won the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal organizational award for “Planning, developing, and implementing NOAA's first operational, satellite ocean biology production and distribution system”. Congratulations to both on behalf of the IOCCG.

MERIS Reception Over Canada

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has responded to a need articulated by Canadian users for NRT full resolution MERIS data, and has agreed to ensure continuous MERIS data access by investing in upgrading the Canadian ground infrastructure and through negotiations with ESA on data accessibility and distribution. The ground infrastructure is almost complete and data reception, archiving, cataloguing and distribution systems are ready. Level 0 data is currently being received over Canada and is being processed by ESA until implementation of the processor at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (spring/summer 2008). CSA has agreed to facilitate data availability for the next 3 years, or until the end of Envisat

KOMPSAT-1 Terminated

On 31 January 2008 the Korean Aerospace Research Industry (KARI) decided to formally terminate the eight-year KOMPSAT-1 mission, since controllers had lost contact with the satellite. KOMPSAT-1 was launched in December 1999 and carried the OSMI ocean-colour sensor. KOMPSAT-1 was initially designed to operate for only three years, but it outlived its life expectancy, producing some 470,000 images of the Earth's surface. KARI plans to launch the first Korean multi-function geostationary satellite COMS-1 (Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite) in 2009 which will carry the GOCI ocean colour sensor.

HICO Mission from Space

The Office of Naval Research has sponsored a program to develop and operate a Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) from the International Space Station. HICO is being integrated and flown under the direction of the US Department of Defence's Space Test Program. HICO will fly on the International Space Station on the Japanese Experiment Module - Exposed Facility (JEM-EF). Mission requirements include a high signal-to-noise ratio, large scene size and moderate spatial resolution appropriate for the coastal ocean. The mission will demonstrate scientific and naval utility of maritime hyperspectral imaging from space (bathymetry, water optical properties, bottom type, and terrain and vegetation maps). The goal is to serve as an innovative pathfinder for future space borne hyperspectral imagers. HICO will be launched to the International Space Station on 9 July 2009, and is scheduled to operate for one year.

SeaWiFS in Safe Haven

Global data acquisition, processing, calibration, and distribution from SeaWiFS has continued for over 10 years, from launch until 31 December 2007. Since then SeaWiFS has been in safe haven due to an onboard telemetry communication problem. Instrument and spacecraft hardware function has been unaffected. There is a planned switch to the B-side computer during first part of February 2008 by GeoEye, Inc., operators of the spacecraft, to resolve what is the believed problem. It is hoped that the instrument will revert to imaging mode if and when the switch occurs.


The 4th ESA Earth Observation Summer School on "Earth System Monitoring & Modelling" will take place at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy from 4-14 August 2008.

ESA's second joint MERIS and (A)ATSR workshop will be hosted at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy from 22 to 26 September 2008. Full details available at

A Satellite Remote Sensing Training Course for Biological Oceanographers will be held at Cornell University from 30 May to 13 June 2008. See Cornell website for full details.

POGO-SCOR Visiting Fellowships for 2008 are now available. This program is designed to promote training and capacity building leading towards a global observation scheme for the oceans. See the POGO website for more information.

The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) was recently awarded the Nippon Foundation-POGO Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography. The Centre will offer a 10-month Programme of study at Bermuda on Observational Oceanography for students from developing countries. Tentative programme dates are from 1 August, 2008 to 31 May, 2009. Travel and living expenses of the trainees will be covered by NF-POGO Centre of Excellence. Full details and application forms are available at:

Employment Opportunities

Several new ocean-colour related positions have been posted on the IOCCG website including a 1-year post-doc in Wimereux, France, a computer programmer at USF and a full time staff member at Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, amongst others. See for further details.

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