The multicoloured North Sea

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Context and objectives

The main goals are to take advantage of the information available from ocean colour remote sensing satellites, to calibrate them in function of the specificities of the Belgian coastal waters, to use them in conjunction with biological models, and so to bring in elements of scientific answers to the debate presently held between riparian North Sea states about eutrophication problems, their geographical extension and the actions that have to be taken.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

This project has lead to the development of an original atmospheric correction scheme for turbid coastal waters and of algorithms allowing to obtain quantitative data for chlorophyll and suspended matter concentrations for the Belgian coastal zone from the observations made by ocean colour sensors. Common features such as a turbidity maximum offshore of Oostende and at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary can be for instance be found in AVHRR reflectance imagery. While scientific research is still necessary to improve region- (and possibly season-) specific ocean colour models, the project has aroused the interest of potential end-users. Work in the following years will focus on the improvement of the algorithms, on the integrated use of data from a wide range of existing or planned (MODIS, MERIS) sensors, and on the development of higher-level applications, possibly combining imagery, in situ data and results of various mathematical models.