Report of the IOCCG co-ordinated course on Remote Sensing of Ocean Colour: Analysis and applications

December 3 - 13, 2001
Cape Town, S. Africa

Convenor: Professor Frank Shillington, Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, S. Africa

S. Africa A ten day training course on "satellite remote sensing of ocean colour: analysis and applications", was held at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, from 3-13th December 2001. There were sixteen young scientists participating from seven different African countries, and one each from India and Argentina [view list of participants]. The course was held in the GIS lab shared jointly by the Department of Oceanography and the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science on the University's upper campus. Participants were accommodated in the University of Cape Town's All Africa House, and meals were provided by the University Staff Club.

The course used the very dynamic Benguela Upwelling System off southwestern Africa as an example where there is good satellite data, for the "hands on" demonstration of fundamental SeaWiFS image analysis. Students had access to daily,, weekly and monthly composite ocean colour and SST data, and were introduced to the problems associated with cloud cover, and digital representation of the images. Typical image analysis techniques such as calculating the histogram of pixel values, colour bar enhancement, filtering etc. were used by the students to display the images.

Students The software used was the UNESCO supported Bilko package. Each student had access to a Pentium III PC attached to the network and internet facilities. A copy of SeaDAS on a SGI ORIGIN 2000 mini supercomputer was available. Students reported that the local internet connection was far superior to what they had "at home". In fact, some students downloaded 300 Mb of data to take back with them. Unfortunately the individual CD ROM's with the Bilko software that were to be distributed to the students, did not arrive before the course ended, but these will be posted to the students shortly.

Group The mornings were devoted to lectures on a variety of topics by active researchers in the South African region. These included a brief report on the IOCCG functions, a review of the Benguela Upwelling System Dynamics, and elementary background to satellite remote sensing, by the convenor (Dr Frank Shillington); detection of hydrogen sulphide in the Benguela System from SeaWiFS, by Scarla Weeks (Ocean Space and UCT); introduction and hands on demonstration of SeaDAS for ocean colour processing by Herve Demarq (IRD and IDYLE research Associate); in situ pigments by Dr Ray Barlow (M &; CM); apparent and inherent optical properties, and an introduction to primary productivity, by Ph.D student Stewart Bernard; an introduction to the OCM instrument on the Indian satellite IRS-P4 by Himmat Solanki (Indian Space Applications Centre); indices and record anchovy recruitment by Dr Claude Roy (IRD and IDYLE research Associate); neural network techniques analysing satellite and chlorophyll data by Dr Anthony Richardson (ENVIFISH researcher). [view schedule]

Participants I would like to thank all the guest lecturers that helped to make the course a success: Dr Claude Roy, IRD and UCT; Dr Anthony Richardson, UCT, Dr Ray Barlow, Marine and Coastal Management, Cape Town; Ms Scarla Weeks, Oceanspace and UCT; Mr Herve Demarcq, IRD and M &; CM, Mr Stewart Bernard, UCT. Thanks is also due to the Centre for Marine Studies manager, Mr Emlyn Balarin for handling the logistical and financial support. The IOCCG Project Scientist, Dr Venetia Stuart, provided invaluable advice. Mr Jeremy Main provided computer assistance (especially when the power failed!). Naturally the students played the major role by sharing ideas and contributing their own particular expertise in the form of discussion of their projects. I really enjoyed the experience, and trust that the students gained a great deal of knowledge from the course.


Financial assistance was from IOCCG, the French South African project IDYLE and from UCT and M &; CM in kind.

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