The first IOCCG Working Group met in October, 1997, in France, under the chairmanship of Prof. André Morel. Members of the working group explored the feasibility of including a minimum set of common spectral channels on all future ocean-colour sensors. A commonality in the spectral bands would provide important practical, as well as scientific, advantages. It would allow:

  • Easy intercomparison between sensors, and even radiometric intercalibration in well-defined conditions;
  • A full compatibility of operational algorithms for atmospheric correction and derivation of end products;
  • A meaningful data merging, at the level of geophysical products (pigment index, aerosol optical thickness) or at the level of the initial quantities (e.g., spectral normalized radiances);
  • A long-term continuity of ocean-colour observations, based on stable, entirely comparable, parameters; and therefore
  • The building up of a coherent data base for biogeochemical studies and related modeling activities, for physical studies and models (heating rate, mixed layer dynamics), and for climatological purposes involving the radiative budget and the effect of aerosol loading.

The group produced a comprehensive report outlining their recommendations. The report, entitled Minimum Requirements for an Operational Ocean-Colour Sensor for the Open Ocean, was edited by Prof. André Morel.


  • A. Morel, Laboratoire d’Oceanographie de Villefranche, France
  • V. Barale, Joint Research Center, Italy
  • A. Bricaud, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche, France
  • J. Campbell, University of New Hampshire, USA
  • N. Hoepffner, Joint Research Center, Italy
  • M. Kishino, Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Japan
  • M. Lewis, Dalhousie University, Canada
  • S. Sathyendranath, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada
  • J. Yoder, University of Rhode Island, USA

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