As it is the start of a new year, I would like to provide an update on the status of the Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program at NASA, focusing on two main issues: MODIS oceans data, and the evolution of the individual ocean mission-based data processing systems to an integrated ocean measurement-based data processing system.
Approximately two weeks ago, NASA announced selections for the solicitation that involved (Terra and Aqua) MODIS algorithm validation and refinement proposals, as well as science data analysis. Many selections correspond to changes in the core functions of the MODIS team. Given these selections, as well as preliminary research being funded for NPP ocean color algorithms and data processing systems, and the recent renegotiation of the SeaWiFS contract, the NASA Office of Earth Science is taking this opportunity to integrate and evolve the respective mission-based data processing systems.
The new MODIS team will have several charges, a key charge being to support NASA as the Earth Science Research programs transition from mission to measurement teams, e.g., develop an ocean discipline-based data processing system. This will be a single ocean data processing system whose functions include, but are not limited to, data calibration, validation, and data processing for past and current missions, and prototyping activities to prepare for future sensor measurements. Membership to aspects of the ocean processing science team will be competed just as the current mission science teams are competed among the community. The recent (2003) selections for MODIS and NPP, and the renewal of the SeaWiFS contract provide a unique opportunity to integrate the individual teams' efforts, with a key goal of ensuring a comparable and consistent seamless time series of high-quality data for climate and other scientific research. The Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry program will serve as the pilot for NASA's Earth Science discipline processing effort, with the terrestrial and atmospheric communities to follow. Spin-up of the ocean data processing system will require support from and encompass aspects of the SeaWiFS project, former SIMBIOS personnel, NPP Ocean color team members, and both previous and recently-selected MODIS Oceans PIs. Each current "mission" or "project" will be integrated into a single ocean processing scheme. The ocean color community will have a key role in determining products produced, algorithms implemented, user needs, climate data record (CDR) accuracy requirements, etc. As NASA transitions some of the ocean discipline processing responsibilities and infrastructure to new MODIS ocean PIs and spins up the ocean discipline processing system, there will be some changes today-to-day operations of MODIS processing and data distribution. I ask that you please be patient during this transition. Updates concerning NASA's ocean color data processing and distribution will be provided on this mailing list.
Near-term changes and goals include:
- addition of MODIS processing capability into SeaDAS
- compatible scaling, data formatting, and data projection for SeaWiFS and MODIS
- reduction of the MODIS product suite into a few key parameters, including, but not limited to, water-leaving radiances (a full data product review for MODIS will involve the community within the next few months)
- data distribution via the SeaWiFS and NPP-prototyping interface
- near real-time data distribution for Aqua MODIS oceans data
The target date for these goals is 1 February 2004. I will be the lead on development and implementation of the ocean discipline processing.
Regarding the MODIS ocean data: at this time NASA Earth Science management has decided to temporarily cease processing Terra MODIS Oceansdata and focus the PIs' and discipline processing team's efforts on Aqua MODIS data. The target date to begin the temporary cessation is 1 February 2004. Aqua MODIS appears to be a more stable instrument than Terra MODIS, although further analyses by the ocean color community is needed. My E-mail of last week pointed to a document that described the current issues in the Terra MODIS Oceans calibration. The fourth reprocessing of Terra MODIS Oceans data is now complete and in the archive at the Goddard DAAC; these data will continue to be available for research. NASA's goal is to refine Aqua MODIS Oceans data to climate research quality, and integrate SeaWiFS and Aqua MODIS into a seamless, climate research quality time series. (Data products in this time series will be community-reviewed and selected.) Once the integration of high-quality SeaWiFS and Aqua MODIS oceans data is complete, NASA may choose to revisit the Terra MODIS Oceans data for further analyses. NASA will need the international ocean color community's support and input in these pursuits.
I am working with other NASA Headquarters personnel to determine acourse for Terra MODIS sea surface temperature products. These data a revalidated and of high quality, and I should have more information shortly for those who wish to continue to obtain these data from Terra MODIS.
To effect a smooth transition from the previous MODIS Oceans team to the recently-selected MODIS oceans team, an Oceans Group Chair and ocean program liaison has been designated from the MODIS selectees by Vincent Salomonson, MODIS Team Leader. The Oceans Group Chair will be Chuck McClain at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Chuck McClain, as MODIS Oceans Group Chair, will also support NASA's efforts to develop and implement the ocean discipline processing system. However, overall responsibility for Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry program projects, including data processing and products, will be under my supervision. Guidance on these endeavors, as they progress, will be given from NASA Headquarters based on ocean color community input and feedback.
There are likely unanswered questions concerning the issues of the MODIS data and the ocean discipline data processing system, so please feel free to contact me by E-mail or telephone with further questions. The aforementioned issues are part of what will be discussed at the NASA Town Hall at the ASLO/TOS Ocean Research Conference in February 2004, with further discussion at the Ocean Color Research Team meeting (mid-April2004). One of the main discussion topics for the Ocean Color Research Team meeting in April (meeting details will be available shortly) will be a community discussion concerning ocean color algorithm and data product selection.
At this time I would also like to direct everyone to two upcoming NASA Earth Science NRAs which should be released this month, Oceans and Ice, and Carbon Cycle Science. These NRAs will offer more opportunities for ocean color remote sensing research from NASA.
I look forward to working with you all to usher in the next generation of NASA's ocean color remote sensing research.
- Dr. Paula Bontempi
Manager, Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Programs
Office of Earth Science
300 E St. SW
Washington, D.C. 20546