A Noctiluca scintillans bloom in the north Arabian Sea on 2 March 2017

Ocean Colour Multi-Mission Algorithm Prototype System

 A Noctiluca scintillans bloom in the north Arabian Sea on 2 March 2017
 A Noctiluca scintillans bloom in the north Arabian Sea on 2 March 2017

This study will develop a modular Ocean Colour prototype processor and validation framework.

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Published on

11 May 2021

The processing of remotely sensed ocean colour data into useful bio-optical products requires multiple processing stages that account for a host of optical processes that determine the relationship between the satellite signal at the top of the atmosphere and the bio-optical oceanographic properties of interest. Scientific research is ongoing to improve all stages of such processing, and new sensors are being developed and launched to improve the state of the art. Therefore, for any ocean colour processor to remain at the cutting edge, it should be able to integrate new methods of atmospheric correction and in-water product estimation, while also being able to process data from the latest sensors. The best solution to meet this requirement is a modular processor into which new modules can be incorporated as options, which can then be tested against existing methods, allowing the user to choose the best-performing algorithm.

This study is developing such a modular ocean colour processor, for use with sensors such as OLCI, that can compare candidate processor configurations, to provide an optimal processing chain that can be used in large-scale data processing.


This project aims to create an Ocean Colour processing system that is:

  • modular in nature;
  • provided in a self-contained environment (Docker);
  • configurable;
  • sufficiently fast to allow near real time processing.

Which will allow:

  • quantitative comparison of multiple candidate ocean colour processing algorithms;
  • determination of system vicarious calibration coefficients for a given processor configuration;
  • the blending of in-water algorithms for optimal product performance.


A prototype processor will be created to perform level-1B-to-level-2 processing of OLCI data, and potentially other European ocean colour sensors. The system will consist of a prototype processing chain, with round robin inter-comparison modules (for both atmospheric correction and in-water product algorithms), a validation and product assessment module, and a module for performing system vicarious calibration for sensor-atmospheric-correction pairings.

The project partners will also provide an associated database of in-situ observations and a set of diagnostic satellite granules, that will allow the assessment of processor configurations under a wide range of atmospheric and oceanographic conditions.

These components will be built upon the foundations created through the Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative (OC-CCI) project (https://www.oceancolour.org/). The new system will be designed to make full use of the capabilities of new sensors, such as the full OLCI visible waveband set and high spatial resolution.

The project partners are Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Brockmann Consult, Hygeos, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Solvo and FCiências.ID.