Seamless and Future-Proof Satellite Ocean Colour Data for Australia

“Seamless and Future-Proof Satellite Ocean Colour Data” is a project funded by the Australia Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). It is led by Professor David Antoine, in collaboration with CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the Curtin Institute of Computation (CIC). Professor David Antoine is currently leading the Remote Sensing and Satellite Research Group at Curtin (RSSRG). He is assisted in this project by Leigh Tyers (Curtin CIC), who has a Bachelor in Physics and Mathematics with a Masters in Computational Physics, having previously worked in the geophysics industry.

The overall aim of this project is to demonstrate and validate amalgamating multiple satellite data products into singular data products, but more importantly calculating mathematical uncertainties across those integrated products from initial data captured to any type of released product. The team uses satellite observations from a range of missions (such as the European Copernicus Sentinel 3A and 3B, the US NOAA SNPP and NASA Aqua) which allows the team to capture up to date information, reduces data gaps in time, and as much as possible minimize the risk of interrupting the data series in case one of the satellite missions would abruptly stop.  Doing so permits the system to be “future-proof” as it lowers the risk of interruption in product delivery and easily enables observations from new satellites to be incorporated within the system. The derived products are then corroborated with in-situ measurements from the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) for verification.

Using several satellites presents its challenges. As satellites are designed for a wide array of purposes and budgets, it becomes a significant issue when wanting to combine information. Each satellite will capture signal in different spectral bands; the captured bands have different centres and widths, which causes the design of a singular processing chain to be non-trivial. The team attempts to overcome this through the use of advanced mathematics and statistics within their work.

Future applications of this research are vast – with its utilisation in many fields such as oceanography, marine optics, environmental monitoring, water quality monitoring, and fisheries. In addition, Australian small and medium-sized businesses involved in aquaculture, biotechnology, maritime transport, and other relative marine-based industries can certainly benefit from this undertaking through near real-time satellite data.

The Seamless and Future-Proof Satellite Ocean Colour Data project is a pilot project part of the IMOS’s ”New Technology Proving Scheme”. The team is expected to have produced their multi-sensor products by the end of August/September 2022, after which IMOS will assess the outcomes of the project and decide on whether these new products become part of the standard IMOS data delivery through the AODN.

Follow their journey here:

David Antoine
Leigh Tyers
Phytoplankton chlorophyll concentrations in summer in the seas around Australia. Data from the NASA SeaWiFS sensor. Image created with
Research funded by the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)