Validation and calibration

English Channel sampling points

Figure 1: English Channel weekly sampling: Station L4 is located 10 nautical miles south-west of Plymouth and is subject to weak seasonal stratification with a thermocline temperature difference of 2-3°C in summer. The seasonal phytoplankton cycle is characterised by a spring diatom bloom and a summer dinoflagellate bloom (image courtesy of Southward et al 2005).

Parameters such as chlorophyll, total suspended materials, coloured dissolved organic material and sea surface temperature are key for monitoring water quality and the effects of pollution in the marine environment. Large scale spatial and temporal information on these parameters can be obtained by means of satellite remote sensing and can aid understanding of the biogeochemical cycles in the marine environment. As a result there is an obvious need to validate these ocean colour data and asses the performance of these sensors so that end users are aware of potential differences. To be able to quantify the differences between sensor and in-situ data, data need to be colleced over range of different water types and regions.

We were a partner in the ESA funded REgion VAlidation of MERIS Products (REVAMP) and were instrumental in defining the rigorous methods and techniques needed to provide quality in-situ data suitable for comparison with MERIS data. We are part of the NERC funded Annual Meridinal Transect (AMT) project aimed at collecting and analysing data along cruise tracks between the U.K. and through the northern and southern Atlantic ocean, to enable validation work and the study of climate change.

The main staff involved in this work are Gavin Tilstone, Victor Martinez Vicente and Tim Smyth with financial support from the NERC, ESA, EU and private research contracts.

Plymouth Quest

Figure 2: The Plymouth Marine Laboratory research vessel, the Plymouth Quest, used for weekly sampling and cruises in the English Channel.

Recent publications

Blondeau-Patissier, D., G.H. Tilstone, V. Martinez-Vicente and G. Moore (2004) Comparison of novel bio-physical products from SeaWiFS, MODIS and a bio-optical model with in situ measurements from Northern European Case 1 and Case 2 Waters. Journal of Optics. A: Pure Applied Optics 6, 875-889, doi:10.1088/1464-4258/6/9/010

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