IOCCG Summer Lecture Series 2012

2 – 14 July 2012 - Villefranche-sur-Mer

The International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG) organized the first IOCCG Summer Lecture Series dedicated to high level training in the fundamentals of ocean optics, bio‐optics and ocean colour remote sensing. This was a 2‐week intensive course that took place from July 2nd – 14th at the Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche (LOV), Villefranche‐sur‐mer, France. A total of 13 renowned lecturers were invited to teach at the course and 17 students from 13 different countries took part in the course. More than 100 students had applied to participate in the course and the 17 remaining applicants were primarily chosen with respect to their motivation and on the basis of their academic background. The majority of them were PhD students and post‐Docs, and some were starting their careers as young researchers. The participants came from a broad range of backgrounds, but all were familiar with at least some domains of ocean colour science and had a solid understanding of ocean colour remote sensing.

Ocean Colour Algorithms (1)

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This session on in‐water algorithms will trace the history of the development of algorithmic methods applied to Ocean Colour data starting with the very first algorithms applied to global datasets obtained from the CZCS sensor.

We will outline the evolution of algorithm development as our knowledge (and data!) on the optical properties of both open‐ocean and coastal waters have improved over the last three decades. Additionally we will examine the mathematical and statistical approaches (neural networks, non‐linear optimisation, spectral un‐mixing, principal component analysis etc.) that have been explored to make best use in using the radiometric quantities measured by the sensors in retrieving the relevant geophysical quantities of interest.

Specific attention will be placed on emphasising the complexities of applying such methods in coastal regions, and considerations will be made on the limitations and uncertainties that need to be understood.

Furthermore we will analyse the parallel progress of both the empirical and semianalytical method, and consider the merits and deficiencies of each of these, providing a clear understanding of the difference between these methods and their practical application in the operational processing of data (see flowchart below).

Complimentary to this we will specifically consider the results from an intensive round robin intercomparison of different semi‐analytical methods (performed by the IOCCG). In considering all of these various aspects of different available algorithms we will underline which algorithms have been considered for routine processing by the major space agencies (and why). Continuing we shall address the relative benefit of using standard global coverage products compared to regional algorithms and vice versa, and explore various alternatives for the implementation of regional algorithms. Here we will investigate the “minimum requirements” for the implementation of such regional algorithms (i.e. required datasets, “Level” of satellite data required, computing requirements).

Finally we will make some considerations on the future direction for research on these topics. And deal with any real world examples/questions that participants may have and want to address.


In preparation for the course, it is suggested that participants consult the following, freely available, IOCCG reports (a more detailed bibliography, on specific topics, will be provided during the course):

Working group on Ocean Colour in Case 2 Waters (Chaired by Shubha Sathyendranath):
IOCCG Report 3 (2000). Remote Sensing of Ocean Colour in Coastal, and Other Optically‐Complex, Waters (

Working group on Ocean Colour Algorithms (Chaired by ZhongPing Lee):
IOCCG Report 5 (2006). Remote Sensing of Inherent Optical Properties: Fundamentals, Tests of Algorithms, and Applications. (

Speaker(s) : Mark Dowell, European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
Public : All
Date : Monday 2 july 2012
Place : Villefranche-sur-Mer