GMES Marine Service to ensure the continuation of GlobColour

The phytoplanktons in the seawater are potentially important carbon sinks. 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.

GlobColour project started in November of 2005, after having been set up by the European Space Agency “Data User Element” to support global carbon cycle research. GlobColour project has merged 55 terabytes of data from three state-of-the-art instruments aboard different satellites, including MERIS (acquiring data over the Earth whenever illumination conditions are suitable), MODIS (viewing the entire Earth’s surface every 1 to 2 days, acquiring data in 36 spectral bands) and SeaWiFS (monitoring ocean characteristics). These instruments are combined to produce a 10-year dataset of global ocean colour information with the best possible spatial coverage.

From the middle of 2008 GlobColour will begin to provide near-real time ocean colour observations to support operational oceanography by combining observations from multiple sensors. Thus GlobColour will deliver on a daily basis a global ocean colour data set derived from MERIS and MODIS used as an input to forecast models of the state of the oceans. From 2009 the European Commission (EC) will ensure the continuity of the GlobColour time series via GMES Marine Core service. Building links from one satellite dataset to another is seen by the EC as vital to distinguishing changes in climate change cycles.

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.


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Author: EARSC

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