Ocean Color Time Series

The production and quality of global ocean color data sets from space, dating since 1978, has been extraordinary and the scientific uses prolific. However, the mission-specific approach used exclusively so far has been lacking in the ability to understand processes occurring across mission timelines. Since individual ocean color missions have finite lifetimes, it is critical to produce a consistent time series across ocean color missions if we are to address fundamental questions of Earth science importance, especially how the ocean biogeochemical system is changing. This has implications for ecosystem change, and the diversity and health of ocean biological systems. Since phytoplankton are responsible for about half the global biospheric photosynthetic uptake of carbon, this also has major implications for the global carbon cycle, and thus, climate.


This project will develop and maintain a seamless ocean color time series from 1978 to 2008 using compatible and consistent processing algorithms. Our missions of interest for the duration of this proposal are the Coastal Zone Color Scanner Experiment (CZCS), Ocean Color and Temperature Scanner (OCTS), and Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS), when it becomes historical. No efforts are proposed to overlap ongoing missions.

Yet a consistent ocean color time series is only of limited utility unless corresponding data access of this record is provided. The mission-specific approach has led to individual data access portals, with different user interfaces, levels of complexity, and formats. We propose to develop a single ocean color access portal, with a simplified user interface and transparent access to multiple mission data, without requiring extensive knowledge of mission terminology and details. This interface, called the Ocean Color Panorama, will include instructional materials online to facilitate use by users that have needs for ocean biogeochemical data, such as modelers, decision support systems, observationalists, and students.

- visit the Ocean Color Time Series site


Watson Gregg, PI, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
Wayne Esaias, PI, GSFC
Gene Feldman, PI, GSFC
Steve Kempler, PI, GSFC
Chuck McClain, PI, GSFC
Greg Leptoukh, PI, GSFC
Jim Acker, PI, Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI)

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2017 at 10:33 AM EST