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Envisat captures first image of Sargassum from space

p>Chlorophyll is the green photosynthetic compound in plants that captures energy from sunlight necessary for photosynthesis. The amount of chlorophyll present in vegetation plays an important role in determining how healthy it is. Accurately monitoring chlorophyll from space, therefore, provides a valuable tool for modelling primary productivity.

"The 709 band used by MERIS is not present on other ocean-colour sensors. It was essential to our detecting Sargassum," Gower said. "The MCI index has allowed us to find so many interesting things, including Sargassum and Antarctic super blooms. It really gives us a new and unique view of the Earth."

Gower and King are now combining data from MERIS with a sophisticated processing algorithm and powerful Grid computing to broaden this new view. The basic principle behind Grid computing is that anything one computer can do, a pool of computers can do faster and better, enabling the solution of massively complex tasks beyond the capabilities of a single machine or local network.

By using Grid technology, Gower and King intend to compute 5-years worth of MERIS data to determine global estimates of Sargassum biomass and its contribution to ocean productivity. "So far, we have found two things (Sargassum and Antarctic superblooms) that have never been seen from space before," said King. "It is really very exciting."


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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
Mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
6-Jun-2007


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