A Triumph for MERIS: Monitoring of Blooms and Vegetation using the Global MERIS MCI Data Set.
Gower, Jim1; King, Stephanie2; Young, Erika3
1Institute of Ocean Sciences, CANADA; 2Sea This Consulting, CANADA; 3University of Victoria, CANADA
The Maximum Chlorophyll Index (MCI) has successfully demonstrated a new way to monitor floating and near-surface vegetation and intense surface plankton blooms in coastal and ocean waters. MERIS MCI shows blooms in which high radiance at 709 nm is the dominant feature. Such blooms would not be detectable without a band at this wavelength. The 10-year dataset is unique to MERIS in that the 709 nm band is not included in other wide-swath water-colour imagers such as MODIS, SeaWiFS or VIIRS. Since April 2012, data are no longer available, and we await the launch of OLCI, planned for 2014. We have used the MERIS data to show patterns of pelagic Sargassum never before seen from space, an increasing trend of Antarctic "superblooms," and details of the global distribution of Trichodesmium and other blooms. In this paper we show examples from the full global MCI dataset compiled during a joint ESA (GPOD) and Canadian Space Agency project. We discuss improvements that could be made to the global MCI time series in preparation for the launch of Sentinel-3.