Satellite sensors can be used to collect data on ocean color in order to characterize the amount of live biomass (e.g. phytoplankton), turbidity, identify algal blooms and track plumes. Generally the ocean color user community has separated the oceanic from the coastal realm, referring to case 1 and case 2 waters respectively From an ocean color viewpoint, the case 1 open ocean is dominated by phytoplankton. Coastal and estuarine waters, however, have a variety of materials, like sediments and dissolved pigments (e.g. tannins) that alter the color of the water. The sensor data is mathematically manipulated using specifically developed algorithms. Thus, generally there are two categories of ocean color algorithms, open ocean (case 1) for phytoplankton and the more complex coastal (case 2) algorithms that are currently being developed and refined. Each remotely sensed sensor has uniqueness that requires specific algorithms. The algorithms are developed, in part, using “sea truth” data. Additionally, sea truth data is used throughout the life of the sensor to validate and refine the sensor algorithm.
The purpose of this project is to implement the field component of the COAST ocean color remote sensing effort in order to assure that products for chlorophyll, turbidity, algal blooms, suspended sediments, etc. are valid and meaningful. The project involves maintaining equipment, training, data collection, quality control and subsequent ingest of those data into a relational database. This project will directly contribute to the validation of harmful algal blooms, and for eutrophication, as well as for future benthic characterization work. Field areas include areas of particular relevance and characteristic of the coast, including Pamlico Sound, Lake Erie, south Atlantic Bight, south Florida, Chesapeake Bay, territories, and California.
The FY06 effort involves developing the remote sensing field system and using this system in field campaigns. For laboratory analysis of water samples, the remote sensing field project will be integrated with the Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research (CCFHR) and the appropriate academic, industry, federal and state agencies.
In FY06, this project will provide technical field support for remote sensing validation and algorithm development. This necessitates preliminary work of bringing the current field instrumentation up to standards, developing and documenting COAST maintenance and field procedures, developing and implementing a relational database, and using the new remote sensing field system in operational field campaigns. The result will be a clear and streamlined method of acquiring and distributing reliable “sea truth” data.
Overall, this project will improve COAST’s ability for algorithm development and the validation of sensor data from remotely sensed sources.
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