New IOCCG Geostationary Working Group

At the last IOCCG Committee meeting (Paris, February 2008) many of the space agencies displayed a high level of interest in ocean-colour observations from a geostationary platform. South Korea plans to launch the Geostationary Ocean Color Imager (GOCI) aboard the COMS-1 satellite in 2009 (see below), and a number of other agencies also have plans for geostationary ocean-colour missions. For this reason the IOCCG Committee unanimously accepted a proposal by David Antoine to form a new IOCCG working group to address issues related to ocean-colour observations from a geostationary orbit.

Members of the working group have been selected (see for details) and the first meeting of the working group will take place on 1 November 2008 in South Korea following the GOCI PI workshop (29-30 October 2008), to initialize collaboration around the COMS-1/GOCI mission. The Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI) will be sponsoring several IOCCG working group members to attend the workshop, which is gratefully acknowledged.

The Second NOWPAP Training Course on Remote Sensing Data Analysis will take place in Cheju, South Korea, immediately after the workshop, from 1-5 November 2008.

Ocean Colour Radiometry Constellation

The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) has established the concept of Virtual Constellations in support of the objectives of the ministerial-level Group on Earth Observations (GEO), to help coordinate the design, operation and exploitation of future systems to meet a range of Earth observation requirements. The IOCCG submitted a proposal for an Ocean Colour Radiance - Virtual Constellation (OCR-VC) at the recent CEOS-SIT meeting in Japan (16-18 September, 2008), which was unanimously approved. CEOS endorsed the importance of an ocean-colour climate data record, as well as the importance of ocean-colour products in support of GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems). The OCR-VC is now one of 6 CEOS virtual constellations, and will address a number of GEO tasks under four societal benefit areas: health, climate, ecosystems and agriculture. The OCR Virtual Constellation will be designed to provide an unbroken stream of calibrated ocean-colour radiances at key wavelength bands.

The IOCCG Constellation Study Team will be composed of representatives from a number of space agencies and other government agencies. To date NASA (USA), NOAA (USA), ESA (Europe), Eumetsat (Europe), JRC (EC), CNES (France), JAXA (Japan), KORDI (South Korea), ISRO (India), INPE (Brazil) and CSA (Canada) have indicated that they will participate in the OCR-VC, and others are anticipated. The team will soon start preparing an Implementation Plan.

GOCI Announcement of Opportunity

The Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI) recently released an Announcement of Opportunity for GOCI, the world's first ocean colour sensor in geostationary orbit (see above). GOCI has a unique capability to provide multiple views of many locations within the fixed region during a single day i.e. 8 times per day, with a high spatial resolution of 500 m. This will allow examination of short-term biophysical phenomena in oceanic and coastal waters, for example harmful algal blooms, mesoscale process studies, fishing ground information, yellow dust etc. Researchers are invited to submit proposals in a wide range of research areas. See GOCI Announcement of Opportunity for further details, and the GOCI AO Proposal Format.

News from NASA

SeaWiFS is Back!

After many months of hard work on the part of the folks at GeoEye, Orbital Sciences and NASA, SeaWiFS has been returned to normal operations as of 20 Aug 2008, and all systems are now performing as they should. Hopefully, this will be the resumption of the long (11+ years) and incredibly valuable data set.

Giovanni News

Giovanni is a Web-based application developed by NASA’s Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) to access, visualize and analyze vast amounts of Earth science remote-sensing data without having to download the data. Giovanni is being increasingly used by researchers to assist in the investigation of a wide range of topics including aerosol optical depths over India (Kedia and Ramachandran 2008, JGR 113) and chlorophyll concentration trends in the Mississippi River plume (Lohrenz et al. 2008, Cont. Shelf Res. 28(12)). Giovanni is constantly being updated. Currently an advanced climatology/anomaly analysis capability is in development, which should be an extremely useful tool for ocean-colour scientists. Giovanni includes SeaWiFS and MODIS Aqua Level 3 data products.

Further information can be found on the Giovanni home page at: To subscribe to the Giovanni-News Mailing List see instructions on this Giovanni web page or you can email Jim Acker at

Employment Opportunities

Several new ocean colour related positions have been added to the IOCCG Employment web page, including a number of positions at ARGANS in the UK, several Research Fellowships at Curtin University, Australia and a position at the Calibration and Validation Office (CVO) of the Goddard Space Flight Center, USA. See for further details.

ESA News

GMES Forum

France and the European Commission jointly organised the GMES Forum from 16-17 September 2008, to mark the launch of the first Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) services in pre-operational mode. The GMES programme is coordinated by ESA, and will combine data from ground- and space-based observations from more than 40 European and other international EO missions, to develop an integrated environmental monitoring capability. The European Commission has identified five initial GMES Core Services projects which will start their pre-operational phase before the end of 2008.

Second MERIS User Workshop

The second joint MERIS and (A)ATSR workshop is currently taking place at ESA ESRIN in Frascati, Italy from 22 to 26 September 2008. Over 220 scientists from 27 different countries are attending the meeting. Special sessions will address MERIS instrument performance and product quality, as well as the latest results and achievements for applications using MERIS data over the ocean, coastal zone and lakes. Users will also be informed of the current status of the GMES Sentinel 2 and 3 payloads.

New Web Interface for GlobColour

GlobColour ocean-colour data (both archive and NRT) can now be accessed via a new web interface, which includes several updated and new services:

  • Archive data centre with new quicklook visualisation and list ordering function
  • NRT data centre with quicklook visualisation
  • NRT rolling archive (15 days)
  • NRT data subscription (at 1-km resolution)

If you have any queries, please contact the GlobColour Service team at:

Primary Productivity Group

The Group for Aquatic Primary Productivity (GAP) was founded in 1980 after discussions during the SIL Congress in Kyoto. The GAP format is a hands-on Workshop, focusing on topics relevant to measuring aquatic primary production in both freshwater and marine environments. Participants bring state-of- the-art scientific equipment to the workshops to run experiments that are later published in a peer-reviewed journal. There have been eight such GAP Workshops in the 28 years since inception, the most recent of which took place from 30 March to 8 April, 2008 at the Inter University Institute (IUI) of Marine Sciences, in Eilat, Israel. View a report on the workshop: GAP_workshop.pdf. The group is also running a session [033 - Gross and Net Primary Production: Closing the Gap between Concepts and Measurements] at the 2009 ASLO meeting (Nice, France) to disucss the results.

Former IOCCG Member Moves On

Former IOCCG member, Dr. Shailesh Nayak, recently assumed charge of Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. He was earlier Director, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad, and prior to that at the Space Applications Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation. His many scientific accomplishments include helping to set up a state-of-the-art Tsunami Warning Centre, developing methodology for potential fishing zones, and developing algorithms for retrieving information on chlorophyll, coloured dissolved organic matter and other biogeochemical parameters from Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) satellite data.

New References

Several new references have been added to the IOCCG Recent References list, including a paper by Loisel et al. (2008) entitled: "Investigation of the variations in the water leaving polarized reflectance from the POLDER satellite data over two biogeochemical contrasted oceanic areas", which appeared in Optics Express, Vol. 16.

Theoretical calculations and field measurements have demonstrated the importance of the use of the polarized light field in the retrieval of the suspended marine particles properties. However, because of the weakness of the water-leaving polarized signal and of the limited number of appropriate spatial sensors, such measurements have never been exploited from space.

Loisel et al. (2008) showed that the polarized remote sensing reflectance, Rrs-p, can be detected from satellite remote sensing measurement of ocean colour over highly scattering waters and under clear sky conditions. The POLDER-2 retrieved absolute values of the degree of polarization, P, its angular pattern, and its behaviour with the scattering level are consistent with theory and previous theoretical and experimental findings. Radiative transfer simulations, performed for different physical characteristics of suspended marine particles (coloured symbols in figure), confirmed that the scatter of the POLDER-2 data (black dots) observed around the hyperbolic trend between Rrs and P may be explained by the variability of the bulk particulate assemblage composition. These preliminary results are very promising to discriminate phytoplankton from sediment particles, as well as to significantly increase the efficiency of the IOP inversion algorithms in highly scattering waters. Prior to any generalization of these results, the sensitivity of the effect of the presence of aerosols should be investigated, and appropriate atmospheric correction schemes developed.

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