Ocean colour services
Ocean colour data provides a window into the ocean living ecosystems, as well as measurements of water quality and sediment dynamics.
28 April 2021
27 July 2018
For full guidance on OLCI see the Sentinel-3 OLCI Marine User Handbook.
The Product Format Specification and other relevant documentation can be found in the Ocean colour resources page.
OLCI provides spectral information on the colour of the oceans. This data can be used to monitor global ocean primary production by phytoplankton, the basis of nearly all life in our seas.
Ocean colour data is also vital to understand climate change — ocean colour is one of the Essential Climate Variables listed by the World Meteorological Organization to detect biological activity in the ocean’s surface layer. Phytoplankton take up carbon dioxide (CO2) during photosynthesis, making them important carbon sinks. Ocean colour data can be used to monitor the annual global uptake of CO2 by phytoplankton on a global scale. Using this data we can study the wider Earth system, for instance the El Niño/La Niña phenomena and how these impacts the ocean ecosystem.
Beyond climate, ocean colour data is also useful to look at more sporadic events. OLCI data can be used track sediment transport, monitor coastal water quality and track and forecast harmful algal blooms that are a danger to humans, marine/freshwater life and aquaculture.
The global picture of ocean ecosystems provided by ocean colour data can guide sustainable marine resource management and support reporting obligations of the European Union's legislation within Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Water Framework Directive, the goal of which is to achieve or maintain Good Environmental Status of the seas by the year 2020.
The products are available in:
- Near-Real-Time (NRT): products shall be available to the users within three hours after sensing.
- Non-Time-Critical (NTC): products available to the users within one month after sensing.
Level 1 data provides ocean colour products derived from the top of atmosphere signal. Level 2 products include the atmospherically corrected water leaving signal, as well as derived products including chlorophyll and total suspended matter estimates.
Ocean colour case studies
OLCI science studies
Ocean Colour Multi-Mission Algorithm Prototype System
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
Ocean Colour System Vicarious Calibration Tool
Developing a generic tool for generation of System Vicarious Calibration gains for Ocean Colour missions.
Spectral matching Atmospheric Correction for Sentinel Ocean colour measurements (SACSO)
Developing a new atmospheric correction prototype to improve the quality of the OLCI water reflectance level 2 product.
Ocean Colour Fluorescence product
Development and validation of a new Ocean Colour Fluorescence Product from the OLCI instrument.
Sentinel-3 OLCI Inherent Optical Properties
Developing Ocean Colour products of Inherent Optical Properties for Copernicus Sentinel-3 OLCI.
Other Sentinel-3 services
Altimetry data is used to determine sea level height, wind speed and wave height.
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The Earth observation satellites contributing data to Copernicus are split into two groups of missions: the Copernicus Sentinels and the contributing missions.