Comparison of ocean-colour algorithms for particulate organic carbon in global ocean

Kong, CE, Sathyendranath, S, Jackson, T, Stramski, D, Brewin, RJW, Kulk, G, Jonsson, B, Loisel, H, Gali, M and Le, C 2024 Comparison of ocean-colour algorithms for particulate organic carbon in global ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science, 11.

Kong CE et al (2024).pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (6MB) | Preview
Official URL:


In the oceanic surface layer, particulate organic carbon (POC) constitutes the biggest pool of particulate material of biological origin, encompassing phytoplankton, zooplankton, bacteria, and organic detritus. POC is of general interest in studies of biologically-mediated fluxes of carbon in the ocean, and over the years, several empirical algorithms have been proposed to retrieve POC concentrations from satellite products. These algorithms can be categorised into those that make use of remote-sensing-reflectance data directly, and those that are dependent on chlorophyll concentration and particle backscattering coefficient derived from reflectance values. In this study, a global database of in situ measurements of POC is assembled, against which these different types of algorithms are tested using daily matchup data extracted from the Ocean Colour Climate Change Initiative (OC-CCI; version 5). Through analyses of residuals, pixel-by-pixel uncertainties, and validation based on optical water types, areas for POC algorithm improvement are identified, particularly in regions underrepresented in the in situ POC data sets, such as coastal and highlatitude waters. We conclude that POC algorithms have reached a state of maturity and further improvements can be sought in blending algorithms for different optical water types when the required in situ data becomes available. The best performing band ratio algorithm was tuned to the OC-CCI version 5 product and used to produce a global time series of POC between 1997–2020 that is freely available.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: particulate organic carbon, ocean carbon cycle, biological carbon pump, essential climate variable, ocean colour remote sensing, ocean colour climate change initiative
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > National Centre for Earth Observation
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Earth Observation Science and Applications
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 21 May 2024 11:11
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2024 11:46

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item