The colour of oceanic seawater depends largely on the number of microscopic phytoplankton, marine plants that live in the well-lit surface layer. Just like land-based plants, phytoplankton accumulate carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and store it in their tissues, making them potentially important carbon sinks.
While phytoplankton themselves are individually microscopic, the chlorophyll they collectively contain colours the ocean's waters, which provides a means of detecting these tiny organisms from space with dedicated ocean colour sensors.
To support ocean carbon cycle research, ESA’s GlobColour project has merged 55 terabytes of data from three state-of-the-art instruments aboard different satellites, including MERIS aboard ESA’s Envisat, MODIS aboard NASA’s Aqua and SeaWiFS aboard GeoEye’s Orbview-2, to produce a 10-year dataset of global ocean colour stretching to 2007.
"I am quite impressed by the work ESA has done so far within GlobColour," said Dr Cyril Moulin of the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP). "This 10-year dataset is going to be very useful for carbon studies and global modelling."
The ocean colour datasets are freely available to the public via the GlobColour website. A new web interface, Hermes, is available which allows users to select a time period, spatial region and product type. Based on this input, the system extracts the appropriate ocean colour products for users to download.
By combining observations from multiple sensors, GlobColour brings several benefits over existing products, such as better sampling of the daily variability, smaller errors because of the larger amount of data and reduced instrumental biases.
To guarantee the data set is of good quality, the data have undergone an intensive validation process by comparing measurements from in-situ buoys. The conclusion was that the error statistics of the merged data are better than data from the three individual sensors.
In addition to aiding carbon cycle research, ocean colour data can provide oceanographers with the information they need to monitor the state of the oceans for other applications, such as for the fisheries and aquaculture industries.
GlobColour, part of ESA’s Data User Element (DUE), will begin providing near-real time ocean colour observations to support this type of operational oceanography from mid-2008.
This service will continue well into the future, thanks to the European Commission (EC), who will continue production of the GlobColour time series from 2009 as part of the Marine Core Service of the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) initiative.
"We need to sustain an international effort to make sure we can link one satellite dataset to another to build the long-time series that we need to distinguish change from cycles, and GlobColour is definitely a significant step in that perspective," said Dr James Yoder, Chair of the International Ocean-Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG).
Marine Core Service and GMES
The Marine Core Service will deliver systematic reference information on the state of the global ocean and European Union seas by providing observational and model data, real-time predictions and ocean scenario simulations.
GMES – a joint initiative of the EC and ESA – responds to Europe’s needs for geo-spatial information services by bringing together the capacity of Europe to collect and manage data and information on the environment and civil security, for the benefit of European citizens.
Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy