ASSESSING THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
SUSTAINED OCEAN COLOR
RESEARCH AND OPERATIONS
Committee on Assessing Requirements for Sustained Ocean Color Research and Operations
Ocean Studies Board
Division on Earth and Life Studies
Space Studies Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant number NNX09AP57G, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under contract number DG133R08CQ0062, the National Science Foundation under grant number OCE-0948911, and the Office of Naval Research under contract number N00014-05-G-0288. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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COMMITTEE ON ASSESSING REQUIREMENTS FOR SUSTAINED OCEAN COLOR RESEARCH AND OPERATIONS
JAMES A. YODER (Chair), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts
DAVID ANTOINE, Marine Optics and Remote Sensing Lab, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cedex, France
CARLOS E. DEL CASTILLO,* Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland
ROBERT H. EVANS, University of Miami, Florida
CURTIS MOBLEY, Sequoia Scientific Inc., Bellevue, Washington
JORGE L. SARMIENTO, Princeton University, New Jersey
SHUBHA SATHYENDRANATH, Dalhousie University, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
CARL F. SCHUELER, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Santa Barbara, California
DAVID A. SIEGEL, University of California, Santa Barbara
CARA WILSON, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fisheries Service, Pacific Grove, California
CLAUDIA MENGELT, Senior Program Officer
ARTHUR A. CHARO, Senior Program Officer
HEATHER CHIARELLO, Senior Program Assistant
JEREMY JUSTICE, Senior Program Assistant
EMILY OLIVER, Program Assistant
* Resigned from the committee to take a position with NASA.
OCEAN STUDIES BOARD
DONALD F. BOESCH (Chair), University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
EDWARD A. BOYLE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
CORTIS K. COOPER, Chevron Corporation, California
JORGE E. CORREDOR, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
KEITH R. CRIDDLE, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
JODY W. DEMING, University of Washington
ROBERT HALLBERG, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Princeton University, New Jersey
DEBRA HERNANDEZ, Hernandez and Company, South Carolina
ROBERT A. HOLMAN, Oregon State University
KIHO KIM, American University, Washington, D.C.
BARBARA A. KNUTH, Cornell University, New York
ROBERT A. LAWSON, Science Applications International Corporation, California
GEORGE I. MATSUMOTO, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, California
JAY S. PEARLMAN, The Boeing Company (Retired), Washington
ANDREW A. ROSENBERG, Conservation International, Virginia
DANIEL L. RUDNICK, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California
ANNE M. TREHU, Oregon State University
PETER L. TYACK, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts
DON WALSH, International Maritime Incorporated, Oregon
DAWN J. WRIGHT, Oregon State University
JAMES A. YODER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts
SUSAN ROBERTS, Director
DEBORAH GLICKSON, Senior Program Officer
CLAUDIA MENGELT, Senior Program Officer
KIM WADDELL, Senior Program Officer
MARTHA MCCONNELL, Program Officer
SHUBHA BANSKOTA, Financial Associate
PAMELA LEWIS, Administrative Coordinator
SHERRIE FORREST, Associate Program Officer
HEATHER CHIARELLO, Senior Program Assistant
LAUREN HARDING, Program Assistant
SPACE STUDIES BOARD
CHARLES F. KENNEL (Chair), Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego
JOHN KLINEBERG (Vice Chair), Space Systems/Loral, California (Retired)
MARK R. ABBOTT, Oregon State University
STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering, Arizona
YVONNE C. BRILL, Aerospace Consultant, New Jersey
ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California
ANDREW B. CHRISTENSEN, Dixie State College/Aerospace Corporation, California
ALAN DRESSLER, The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution, California
JACK D. FELLOWS, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Colorado
HEIDI B. HAMMEL, AURA, Connecticut
FIONA A. HARRISON, California Institute of Technology
ANTHONY C. JANETOS, University of Maryland
JOAN JOHNSON-FREESE, Naval War College, Rhode Island
ROBERT P. LIN, University of California, Berkeley
MOLLY K. MACAULEY, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
JOHN F. MUSTARD, Brown University, Rhode Island
ROBERT T. PAPPALARDO, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
JAMES PAWELCZYK, Pennsylvania State University
MARCIA J. RIEKE, University of Arizona
SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of California, Irvine, Earth Science and Applications
DAVID N. SPERGEL, Princeton University, New Jersey
JOAN VERNIKOS, Thirdage LLC, Virginia
WARREN M. WASHINGTON, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Colorado
CLIFFORD M. WILL, Washington University
CHARLES E. WOODWARD, University of Minnesota
THOMAS H. ZURBUCHEN, University of Michigan
MICHAEL MOLONEY, Board Director*
JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Senior Program Officer
TERRI BAKER, Senior Program Assistant
CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator*
ARTHUR A. CHARO, Senior Program Officer
SANDRA J. GRAHAM, Senior Program Officer
LEWIS GROSWALD, Research Associate
CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Editor, SSB*
RODNEY N. HOWARD, Senior Project Assistant
CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate*
TANJA E. PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations*
IAN W. PRYKE, Senior Program Officer
ROBERT L. RIEMER, Senior Program Officer*
ABIGAIL SHEFFER, Associate Program Officer
CHRISTINA O. SHIPMAN, Financial Officer*
DAVID H. SMITH, Senior Program Officer
LINDA WALKER, Senior Project Assistant
SANDRA WILSON, Financial Assistant*
DIONNA WILLIAMS, Program Associate
* Staff of another NRC Board who are shared with the SSB.
Ocean biology and biogeochemistry entered a new era with the launch of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) in 1978. For the first time, maps of phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll)—a key measurement of marine ecosystems—could be produced from space observations with the potential for daily to interannual observations at ocean basin scales. Led by scientists based at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center and supported by academic partners at the University of Miami and around the world, the capability to process and distribute the data developed rapidly. As a result, the numbers of applications and users also grew quickly. By the time the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) launched in 1997, regional to global maps of phytoplankton chlorophyll and other products derived from satellite measurements of water-leaving radiance (ocean color) were accessible to users all over the world and had become an essential measurement for the study and analysis of ocean biogeochemistry and ocean ecosystems.
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-Terra launched in 1999 and MODIS-Aqua launched in 2002; the latter was a follow-on to SeaWiFS. Both had nominal ocean color capabilities, although processing Terra data for quantitative ocean color measurements proved to be an almost insurmountable challenge with only modest recent success. The increase in the number of international users and the increase in applications, however, did not lead to a clear path forward to sustain a quantitative time-series of satellite ocean color observations by U.S. sensors beyond MODIS. International partners, such as the Japanese and European Space Agency (ESA), also launched sensors, but some were short-lived, others were not suitable for global observations, and others had initial challenges to support data distribution for the international user community. In the United States, the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) platforms was to provide ocean color observations beyond MODIS, particularly for operational users. However, many ocean color users felt isolated from the planning for VIIRS and were unimpressed with the technical specifications and proposed mission operations. Many, if not most, users did not believe VIIRS could sustain the SeaWiFS/MODIS-Aqua time-series for quantitative observations. Meanwhile, SeaWiFS, both MODIS instruments, and the European Space Agency’s Medium-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument were beyond their design lifetime. This was the environment during which the committee began its task in 2010 to assess the “continuity of satellite ocean color data and associated climate research products … at significant risk for the U.S. ocean color community.”
The committee met with experts in and out of government and hosted a community workshop to get opinions on VIIRS and non-U.S. options for future satellite ocean color measurements for U.S. users. The committee considered sensor specifications, mission operation scenarios, calibration and validation plans (or lack thereof), data exchange policies and related issues. Our task was complicated owing to major developments in ocean color remote sensing in 2010, which included: the NPOESS program was significantly restructured to become the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS); a team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) characterized the VIIRS sensor with unanticipated positive results; NASA announced the Pre-Aerosol-Clouds-Ecosystem (PACE) mission, which included an advanced ocean color instrument for launch in 2019; and SeaWiFS stopped operating. With the exception of the demise of SeaWiFS, all of these were positive developments and strongly influenced our report and its conclusions. Most recently (April 2011) Congress finally approved the U.S. government’s FY11 budget, which included significant cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) satellite programs in comparison to the President’s FY11 budget submission. The implication of these cuts for
VIIRS on NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) and JPSS-1 are not known to the committee.
Many individuals from NASA, NOAA, private industry, and academia attended the open sessions of our meetings and contributed essential information. In particular, many of these individuals helped the committee understand very technical issues as well as the complex organizational issues associated with the restructuring of NPOESS. I am also grateful to the committee members who worked so well together and were able to come to consensus on all of the important issues.
Finally, I am most grateful to the National Research Council (NRC) staff—Study Director, Claudia Mengelt; Senior Program Assistant, Jeremy Justice; Program Assistant, Emily Oliver; Senior Program Assistant, Heather Chiarello; and Ocean Studies Board Director, Susan Roberts for all of the time and effort they dedicated to the completion of this report.
Jim Yode, Chair
Committee on Assessing Requirements for
Sustained Ocean Color Research and Operations
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This report was greatly enhanced by the participants of the meetings held as part of this study. The committee would first like to acknowledge the efforts of those who gave presentations at meetings: Steve Ackleson (ONR), Bob Arnone (NRL), Paula Bontempi (NASA), Emmanuel Boss (University of Maine), Tony Busalacchi (University of Maryland), Curt Davis (OSU), Paul DiGiacomo (NOAA), James Gleason (NASA), Bruce Guenther (NOAA), Carol Johnson (NIST), Henri Laur (ESA), Charles McClain (NASA), Hiroshi Murakami (JAXA), Steve Murawski (NOAA), Fred Pratt (GSF), Peter Regner (ESA), Karen St. Germaine (NOAA), Phil Taylor (NSF), Kevin Turpie (NASA), Menghua Wang (NOAA), Stan Wilson (NOAA), and Giuseppe Zibordi (Joint Research Centre, Ispra). These talks helped set the stage for fruitful discussions in the closed sessions that followed.
The committee is also grateful to a number of people who provided important discussion, submitted white papers, and helped improve the quality of this report: Paul DiGiacomo (NOAA), Carol Johnson (NIST),Charles McClain (NASA), Stan Wilson (NOAA), and Shelby Wood.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that this report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in their review of this report:
WILLIAM M. BALCH, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Boothbay Harbor, Maine
MICHAEL BEHRENFELD, Oregon State University, Corvallis
OTIS BROWN, Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina
JANET CAMPBELL, University of New Hampshire, Dover
CURTISS DAVIS, Oregon State University, Corvallis
HEIDI DIERSSEN, University of Connecticut, Avery Point, Groton
HOWARD GORDON, University of Miami, Florida
ANDRE MOREL, Marine Optics and Remote Sensing Lab, Villefranche-sur-mer, France
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Francisco P. Chavez, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, appointed by the Divison on Earth and Life Studies, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.