NOAA Office of Satellite and Product Operations

NOAA's Operational Ocean Color Products from the CoastWatch Okeanos Operational Production System

Ocean Color (OC) is the water hue due to the presence of tiny plants containing the pigment chlorophyll, sediments, and colored dissolved organic material (DOM).
Okeanos (Greek god of the great ‘river ocean’ and the waters surrounding the Earth) system is a flexible, expandable software system for generating CoastWatch operational ocean color products.

The NOAA CoastWatch Okeanos system has been providing a series of high quality ocean color operational products for our user communities, e.g., 1 km daily and bi-monthly mean chlorophyll concentrations, and chlorophyll concentration anomaly compared to 61-day averages from MODIS/AQUA. The 1 km daily, bi-monthly, and anomaly products of remote sensing reflectance at 667 nm are also available for MODIS/AQUA. Those products are generated respectively using the NASA NIR and the NOAA NIR-SWIR algorithms. The products have been beneficial in assessing water quality and tracking potentially harmful algal blooms in order to protect public health. For example, the chlorophyll concentration product has been used to understand and predict the harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico by the NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS).

Recent efforts also continue to provide more MODIS/AQUA ocean color products to user community. The chlorophyll frontal operational products have been available since 28 May, 2013. Pre-operational products of Global Emiliania huxleyi bloom distribution were available since October 2012 but they were retired on 9 June 2014 because of lack of NOAA operational users. An overview on the Okeanos products is given here, and a detailed description of the products (category, coverage, resolution, filename convention format, and file format) is given here. The availability and quality of the products in near real time are monitored through this web site.

Example time series of daily chlorophyll concentration distribution over Gulf-of-Mexico from May 28, 2013 to June 4, 2013. Each of daily chlorophyll concentration distribution images is generated in the CW Okeanos operational system.