GEO Initiatives in Support of UN SDG Water Quality Target Indicators
Asimon Room
Contact: Steven Greb ([email protected])

Two GEO initiatives, AquaWatch and Blue Planet are actively participating in the development and implementation of key indicators used to monitor the progress of UN Sustainable Development Goals. GEO AquaWatch is the community of practice within the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) that aims to develop and build the global capacity and utility of Earth Observation-derived water quality data, products and information to support water resources management and decision making. GEO Blue Planet: Oceans and Society provides a broad Ocean and Coastal observations for societal benefit and aims to address global challenges and improve decision making by coordinating and developing the Earth observation efforts among participating governments and organizations. Through engagement with the global in situ monitoring and remote sensing community, they will facilitate the progress toward Sustainable Development Goal 6.3, 6.6, and 14.1 targets by providing advice from technical experts, information sharing, and coordination or collaboration on similar activities. Through this town hall meeting, we seek interested participants, new collaborators, and to expand our network of assistance to help meet the challenges of these informational needs.

Datapresence: A Vision for the Future of Data at Sea
Bokar Room
Contact: Katie Watkins-Brandt ([email protected])



New technologies developed for research vessels to enable virtual participation, situational awareness and adaptive sampling at sea; the ability to integrate data from a broad suite of ocean and meteorological sensors and facilitate quality real-time data collection and data visualization to inform the science mission, enable shore side participation, and encourage education and community outreach.

The design of the next generation Regional Class Research Vessels (RCRV) for the U.S. academic research fleet includes advanced datapresence capabilities. We envision these capabilities as tools that facilitate virtual research at sea while providing an interdisciplinary approach to ocean science research, one that enhances observational, experimental, and analytical capacity. During this town hall we will provide a brief background on the datapresence prototype, followed by two interactive modules. We encourage participants to come equipped with a laptop or mobile device that can be used to navigate the datapresence dashboard online.  Module one will introduce the event logger, alerts and sensor status dashboard, and QA/QC features. Module two will be dedicated to navigating the data access and visualization tools and services. We will close with discussion and suggestions for the current system, an online survey will be available to provide additional feedback and comments. Please visit our poster entitled Datapresence: A vision for the future of data at sea on Wednesday, October 10th from 16:00-18:00 to learn more about the system prior to the Town Hall.

The Biological Carbon Pump: How Optical Techniques can Close the Gaps
Asimon Room
Contacts: Klas Ove Möller ([email protected]), Dave Siegel ([email protected]), and Ivona Cetinic ([email protected])

We invite you to a town meeting geared at faciliting discussions on the usage of optical techniques in exploring the Biological Carbon Pump and highlight current opportunities, challenges and limitations. This Town Hall aims to bring together experts in observation, experimentation, theoretical modelling, and data analyses to discuss how to improve:

• best practices in optical observations of particle export in different marine ecosystems
• intercalibration of different observation techniques (e.g. underwater imaging systems and remote sensing)
• linkages between the coastal- and open ocean’s Biological Carbon Pump
• the process of converting in-situ particle measurements to global export estimates

Rationale. Sinking particles and aggregates of biogenic origin, known as marine snow, are considered to play an important role in the oceans particle flux. These particles are the major vector for the transfer of organic carbon from the upper ocean to deeper layers and a potential food source for zooplankton. The magnitude of particle export and the rate at which particles are utilized determine carbon sequestration in the oceans, and directly influence atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and global climate. However, our mechanistic understanding of the processes controlling the biological carbon pump is limited by a lack of observational data at appropriate scales and due to the fact that conventional sampling methods do not collect marine snow quantitatively. The limited spatial and temporal coverage of sediment traps have led to novel technologies that focus on optical measurements to allow the collection of large data sets describing both dynamics and types of sinking particles. Yet, whilst technologies to image particles have advanced greatly during the last two decades, techniques to analyze the often extensive data sets have not. One short-coming is the translation of optical particle properties into particle characteristics such as carbon content and sinking speed. Moreover, different devices often measure different optical properties, leading to difficulties in comparing results. Finally, highly productive coastal and marginal seas, which play a key role in the global carbon cycle by linking the terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric carbon reservoirs, are still poorly represented in global carbon budgets.

COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL)
Bokar Room
Contact: Eric Hochberg ([email protected])

The NASA EVS-2 CORAL mission is designed to find the functional link between coral reef condition and the biogeophysical forcings that impact the ecosystem. CORAL’s first science objective is to use airborne spectral imaging to make high-density observations of reef condition (benthic community composition, productivity, and calcification rate) across four regions in the Pacific Ocean. CORAL’s second objective is to analyze those image products against values for biogeophysical forcings (e.g., sea surface temperature, carbonate chemistry, wave stress) to derive quantitative, empirical models that can be used to estimate current global reef condition and forecast reef condition under scenarios of predicted global change. Using JPL’s PRISM instrument, during 2016-2017, CORAL successfully acquired imagery for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Main Hawaiian Islands, the Mariana Islands, Palau, and Florida. For validation, in-water teams made concurrent measurements of remote-sensing reflectance, water column IOPs, seafloor reflectance, and benthic community composition, productivity and calcification. This town hall is intended to provide a status update of CORAL, as well as the latest mission in-water and airborne science results. The CORAL Science Team welcomes those who wish to engage with CORAL, as well as those who simply are interested to learn about the mission.

The Future of Imaging Spectroscopy of Coastal and Inland Waters
Asimon Room
Contact: Kevin Turpie ([email protected])

Coastal and inland aquatic systems, which are important to life on our planet and vital to human society, are highly vulnerable to threats that are now occurring on a global scale (e.g., climate change, sea-level rise, and growing unsustainable exploitation). Remote sensing provides a valuable capability for assessing and monitoring changes in these region on commensurate scales.  The development direction of needed remote sensing assets is shifting, including new imaging spectroscopy capabilities (i.e., hyperspectral remote sensing) that are coming on-line in the coming decade.  A bridge must be built between between the complex data from this innovative remote sensing technology and applications/science end-users and stakeholders.  This Town Hall will facilitate a community discussion on the status and future directions of imaging spectroscopy of coastal and inland waters, covering key developments, challenges and recommendations. Important areas of discussion include:

  • New and recent spaceborne and airborne missions, supporting surface measurements, and scoping studies that could offer new remote sensing assets for coastal and inland aquatic science and applications.
  • Challenges specific to remote sensing in inland and coastal waters (e.g., atmospheric correction, cal/val, instrument performance trade-offs, and product interoperability, access and tools), their expected effect on uncertainty and utility, and possible solutions.
  • End-user objectives and requirements for remote sensing products and their application and the direction of product and tool development.

Validation of Hyperspectral Phytoplankton Community Structure Beyond HPLC
Bokar Room
Astrid Bracher ([email protected]), Heidi Dierssen ([email protected]),
and Emanuele Organelli ([email protected])

The taxonomic and size structure of marine algal communities controls many ecological and biogeochemical processes, and profoundly impact oceanic carbon fluxes. To fully achieve this understanding we need, however, observations with high spatial and temporal resolutions that standard techniques cannot provide. Multispectral Ocean Colour has helped achieve knowledge on the decennial distribution of phytoplankton size classes. Upcoming Hyperspectral Ocean Colour sensors can move this knowledge forward and provide new taxonomical insights. To properly develop and validate algorithms from these upcoming sensors, we need GLOBAL in-situ validation datasets on phytoplankton community structure that go beyond HPLC and integrate also microscopy, imaging, flow cytometry data as well as hyperspectral IOP and AOP measurements. This Town Hall wants to promote the need of an international effort to supporting a global integrated dataset and shall discuss shortcomings and steps forward on:

(a) current status of protocols and global databases of the various data types;
(b) representative efforts to integrate global databases with hyperspectral optical data;
(c) definition of potential locations for representative development of such integrated datasets;
(d) international repositories in support of phytoplankton community structure validation;
(e) previous, ongoing and planned international initiatives and ongoing work.

After short overviews to these aspects we invite all interested scientists to a non-confrontational constructive discussion!