SeaWiFS' contribution to Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Race Start of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo by Thierry Martinez / ASSA ABLOY

On September 23rd the Volvo Ocean Race, formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, got underway from Southampton, England. The competitors, sailing high-tech grand prix Volvo Ocean 60 yachts (V60), will be stopping in nine countries before reaching Kiel, Germany, where this 32,250 nautical mile-race will end.

Since last year, this race has become a part of a new and exciting global environmental and educational programme for young people called the Volvo Ocean Adventure. As a part of this project, the yachts are equipped with self-contained instrument packages, fitted on a mast at the rear of the yachts, for measuring ocean colour and sea surface temperature (SST). Two sensors measure water-leaving radiance from each side of the yacht, and one measures downwelling irradiance from the rear-ward quarter-sphere.
The data received from the yachts is then combined with satellite images provided by SeaWiFS and other NASA satellites and made available in near real-time on the project website. Using this data young people throughout the world will be able to participate in a wide range of educational projects connected with the race, and find practical solutions to various problems.

HY-1 launch postponed

HY-1 According to the Chinese Xinhua News Agency, China is expected to launch 35 or more science and application satellites over the next five years. The planned satellites will be used in direct-broadcasting, large capacity communications, meteorological and oceanographic observations, navigation and positioning, and disaster mitigation. One of these is China's first ocean satellite, HY-1 (HaiYang 1), developed by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST). The satellite will carry the Chinese Ocean Colour and Temperature Scanner (COCTS) as well as a 4-band Coastal Zone Imager (CZI). The launch of HY-1, originally scheduled for September 2001, has once again been delayed and is now rescheduled for June 2002.
Meanwhile, two ground stations are being set up in Beijing and in Sanya (Hainan Island) to receive raw data in real time. The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) has plans for a new HY satellite to be launched approximately every two years over the next decade.

Channel sub-setter for MODIS products

Modis Logo Goddard Earth Sciences (GES), Data and Information Service Center (DISC), and Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) is in the process of developing tools to allow users of MODIS data to order smaller, more manageable files. A prototype web-based channel sub-setter is now available for MODIS level 1B products.
The new sub-setter will allow the user to order a sub-set of channels instead of a full (36 channels) data granule. This sub-setter can be used within the GES DAAC's local 'search & order' tool. Sub-setter users are invited to email their comments to It should be noted that Level 2 and 3 MODIS ocean colour and SST products are still considered 'provisional' quality and should be used for scientific analysis and evaluation by the general community. These 'provisional' products are under evaluation and product improvements and product validations are still on going.

St. Petersburg Conference

Peter and Paul The recently concluded (September 25-28, 2001) international conference on 'Current Problems in Optics of Natural Waters' in St Petersburg, Russia, successfully continued the tradition of the Plenums on Ocean Optics, the main hydrooptical conference of the former Soviet Union. Eight students were sponsored by the IOCCG to attend the conference. Student presentations covered a range of topics including algorithm assessment, retrieval of phytoplankton absorption spectra from reflectance measurements, and inherent optical properties. The following students were sponsored by the IOCCG:
  • Elena Shtraihert (Vladivostok Pacific Oceanological Institute)
  • Svetlana Ershova (P. P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology)
  • Olga Sergel (St. Petersburg University)
  • Grigory Kokhanenko (Siberia Institute of Atmospheric Optics)
  • Victor Mankovsky, Mark Soloviev, and George Tolkachenko (Ukraine Marine Hydrophysical Institute)
  • Tadeush Krol (Poland Institute of Oceanology)

Noumea Workshop

New Caledonia Dr. Mervyn Lynch of the IOCCG recently organised a short workshop on "Remote Sensing Resources for Marine Management" at the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD) in Noumea, New Caledonia (September 25-27, 2001), in conjunction with the IOC Perth Regional Office. The IOC sponsored 11 delegates from various South Pacific nations to attend the workshop (as well as four lecturers), while a further 12 non-sponsored delegates also registered, bringing the total number of participants to 23. The session leaders/workshop lecturers were Mervyn Lynch (Curtin Univ., Perth), Trevor Ward (CSIRO, Perth), Peter Fearns (Curtin Univ., Perth), CÚcile Dupouy (IRD, Noumea), Lesley Clementson (CSIRO, Hobart) and Robert Frouin (Scripps, California). IRD Noumea provided the venue and local organisational support, and the IOCCG sponsored Dr. Frouin. A full report of the workshop will be available shortly. The IOCCG plans to hold a follow on, more intensive training course next year (September, 2002).

Special session on remote sensing at PORSEC

UCT Prof. Marlon Lewis will convene a special session on 'Applications of Ocean Color Remote Sensing' at next year's Pan Ocean Remote Sensing Conference (PORSEC) in Bali, Indonesia (September 3-6, 2002). This session will highlight recent advances in understanding the biology, physics and chemistry of the sea with the help of various ocean colour satellites. Papers are solicited on any aspect of ocean colour remote sensing, but priority for the oral session will be given to those papers which use ocean colour data sets to address significant oceanographic questions and applications. For additional information write to Prof. Marlon Lewis or visit the PORSEC website.

South African Training Course

UCT The IOCCG-sponsored training course on 'Remote Sensing of Ocean Colour: Analysis and Applications' will take place at the University of Cape Town, South Africa from 3-13 December 2001. Seventeen candidates from 10 countries in Africa have been selected to attend the course and will be notified shortly. The course will include a review of the Benguela Upwelling system as well as an introduction to in-water optics, primary production and SeaDAS, amongst other topics.

ENVISAT launch delayed until January 2002

ENVISAT The launch of European Space Agency's new earth observing satellite, ENVISAT, carrying the MERIS ocean colour sensor, has once again been rescheduled, this time to mid-January 2002. The delay is due to problems with the upper stage of the Ariane 5 launcher.
In the past weeks, good progress has been achieved in the characterisation of the various engine parameters contributing to the ignition phase, by testing and parallel modeling. Significant progress has also been made on the Ground Segment validation, which has taken full advantage of the launch delay.
For more information about the ENVISAT mission and/or MERIS consult ESA Special Bulletin No. 106 (June 2001) which is dedicated to ENVISAT.

More from SeaWiFS...

SeaWiFS' fourth anniversary
SeaWiFS The mission completed four years of operation on September 18, 2001. Since September 1997, a multi-year record of the changing biology of the Earth in its entirety has been documented. As a part of this fourth anniversary, the SeaWiFS project office is planning a special issue of Deep Sea Research (DSR) Part II. Contributions to the special issue should focus on how the SeaWiFS data can be used to understand ocean, biological, biogeochemical, physical and/or geological processes. Letters of intent to submit an article should be sent to by February 2002. For further questions, write to Dave Siegel.

SeaWiFS data
Science News The recent issue of Science News, features a comprehensive cover story about the role of dust in regulating the Earth's climate using data provided by SeaWiFS and other satellites. The article entitled, 'Dust, the Thermostat', talks about, 'how the tiny airborne particles manipulate global climate'. The story can be found at:
  Also, data from SeaWiFS has been used to highlight the biosphere changes over time in an article about the carbon cycle, on NASA's Earth Observatory website. This data has enabled scientists to study the changes in carbon cycle by tracking the changes in the biosphere. Over years of observation, the results of long-term climate change have become apparent. An animated biosphere image accompanies the story. For details visit NASA's Earth Observatory website.

SeaDAS Training
SeaDAS has put all plans for its training on hold until it can assess the impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks from a security standpoint. According to a statement from Goddard, they have no idea 'what the status is going to be in January with regards to foreign nationals being permitted access to Goddard Space Flight Center'.

Gallery Updates

New images from SeaWiFS, MODIS and OCM have been added to the IOCCG ocean-colour image gallery. Images can be viewed by continent or by sensor. Any images you would like to see in this section can be submitted to us electronically by e-mail.

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