By the end of this year, commercial fishers and other users will be able to get satellite data on ocean colour in near-real-time via the NIWA website.
When the sea is deep, the colour of the ocean is largely determined by the abundance of phytoplankton in the water. Since these tiny plants are the basis of the marine food web, accurate measurement of ocean colour on a daily basis can be a great help to deep-sea fishers.
Ocean-colour remote sensing in the open ocean can also measure how fast the phytoplankton is growing, assist in the detection of harmful algal blooms before they affect fisheries and aquaculture, and help those interested in climate change estimate how much carbon dioxide is transferred between the atmosphere and the ocean.
NIWA is testing systems for acquiring and processing data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aqua ocean colour instrument. We expect to begin delivering this information for the open ocean to NIWA website and Sat-View users by December, augmenting our existing web-based sea surface temperature service.