Branch Seminar Series: Bryan Franz

NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group
Ocean color, or the spectral distribution of visible light upwelling from beneath the ocean surface, carries information on the composition and concentration of biological constituents within the water column. This oceanic biomass plays a critical role in the global carbon cycle, accounting for approximately half of the net primary productivity on Earth. With the launch of the Coastal Zone Color Scanner in 1978, NASA demonstrated that quantitative ocean color measurements could be made from spaceborne sensors, given sufficient corrections for atmospheric effects and a rigorous calibration and validation program. The launch of the Sea-viewing Wide Field Sensor in 1997 represents the beginning of NASA's on-going efforts to develop and maintain a global ocean color data record. This talk will describe some of the challenges to producing ocean color measurements from spaceborne sensors with sufficient fidelity for climate change research. Efforts to develop and maintain the continuity of the time-series through multiple NASA missions and varying instrument designs will be highlighted, including measurements from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer currently flying on the Terra and Aqua platforms. In addition, several international satellite sensors with ocean color capability are now in orbit or preparing for launch, and collaborations with these international missions will be discussed. Finally, plans for continuation and enhancement of the time-series through future NASA ocean color missions and advanced measurements will be presented.