[Project Case Study] Satellite Data, Painting Australia’s Oceans Seamless and Future-Proof Satellite Ocean Colour Data for Australia

‘Seamless and Future-Proof Satellite Ocean Colour Data’ is a project funded by the Australian Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) – in partnership with CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the Curtin Institute for Computation (CIC) – to compile and streamline marine climate data from myriad satellite sources and use it create a flexible and robust processing system that can produce ocean colour products for our marine waters.


Marine climate data from a range of satellite observation sources – the USA’s NOAA SNPP, NASA Aqua and, European Copernicus Sentinel 3A and 3B – was collected with the goal of having up-to-date, uninterrupted, gap-free data.  Due to the variety of sources – in design, budget and spectral bands – there was significant obstacles in achieving the project’s goal. The multi-sourced data will be correlated to address mathematical uncertainties before being processed into a singular data product. This process will futureproof the system as it reduces the risks of the data being delayed, interrupted, and having gaps, as well as allowing observations from new satellites to be easily incorporated into the system and the data to be corroborated and verified with data from other sources – the Australian Ocean Data Network.


Future applications of this research are vast – it has potential to be used in the fields of oceanography, marine optics, environmental monitoring, water quality monitoring, and aquaculture – with this research having distinct benefits for Australian small and medium-sized enterprises in related fields.


‘Seamless and Future-Proof Satellite Ocean Colour Data’ is a pilot project and part of IMOS’s ‘New Technology Proving Scheme’. The project is being led by Professor David Antoine who is also the head of Curtin University’s Remote Sensing and Satellite Research Group with assistance from Leigh Tyers MS(CompPhy) of Curtin Institute for Computation. The team is expected to have completed their final product by the end of Aug-Sep 2022, after which IMOS will assess the outcomes of the project and decide if these new products will be incorporated into their standard data delivery system.

Phytoplankton chlorophyll concentrations in summer in the seas around Australia. Data from the NASA SeaWiFS sensor. Image created with https://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi/biosphere_globes.pl

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