About the Project




Progress Status





World L3 global ocean color
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Look at the GlobColour Project Overview (PDF)

Ocean color is an "essential climate variable" needed to support the carbon cycle monitoring requirements of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). It is also a climate variable that cannot be globally monitored without using satellite observations.
In order to cover the long time span necessary for climate monitoring purposes, the required ocean color data set can only be built by merging together observations made with different satellite systems.

Data-merging is also necessary to achieve global daily coverage, as no single sensor is capable of observing every part of the globe every day.
To ensure that different periods of the ocean color time series can be compared, merging together data from differently engineered satellite systems requires a very thorough calibration and validation covering the entire spatial and temporal extent of the data set. This last aspect is essential if the data set is to achieve the required quality to become an accepted Climate Data Record, defined as a time series of measurements of sufficient length, consistency, and continuity to determine climate variability and change.

The GlobColour project has been initiated and funded by the ESA Data User Element Programme to develop a satellite based ocean color data service to support global carbon-cycle research and operational oceanography. The Agency sees this project as a necessary element brick of the future EU GMES Marine Core Service, with a service and system being developed and demonstrated with the aim of being operational at the end of the project. In parallel, the Agency is planning the continuity of MERIS in 2012 on board Sentinel-3.

GlobColour aims to satisfy the scientific requirement for a long time-series (1997-2007) of consistently calibrated global ocean color information with the best possible spatial coverage. This requirement has been specified by the global ocean color user community, as represented in the project by the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG) and the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP). The operational oceanography requirements are expressed by the UK MetOffice.

A critical component of GlobColour is ocean color data merging, as it provides a method for the rationalisation of space missions and data distribution. Alternative data-merging methods that start from both radiance and derived bulk properties (such as surface chlorophyll concentration) have been tested and the final merging algorithm choice has been made following an algorithm inter-comparison and trade-off analysis against in situ data.

The GlobColour service distributes global data sets of chlorophyll concentration, water leaving radiances, diffuse attenuation coefficient, coloured dissolved and detrital organic materials, total suspended matter or particulate backscattering coefficient, turbidity index, cloud fraction, quality indicators. Distribution of other products is upcoming (e.g., transparency, heated marine layer), or considered.
The global Earth domain is covered with focus on local DDS areas (Diagnostic Data Sets areas) for qualification and validation purpose.
The products are generated on a daily, weekly (8-day), and monthly basis, on a Grid/Projection of 4.63 km equal area bins on an integerised sinusoidal grid.

A real-time service is being developed for operational oceanography purposes and will deliver on a daily basis a global ocean color data set derived from MERIS and MODIS used as an input to forecast models of the state of the ocean.





The European Service for Ocean Colour - GlobColour is an ESA Data User Element Project