Past AquaWatch Webinars

Water Talks: Advancing Diversity and Equity in Aquatic Remote Sensing

An Earth Observation based evaluation of activity-induced water quality variations in the Ganges

By Subhajit Bandopadhyay, Rashtriya Raksha University (India)
February 12, 2024 16:00 UTC

Abstract: Monitoring of water quality is a crucial responsibility for water supply and management entities, particularly in regions that are highly vulnerable to surface water contamination. The people of India dependent on the Ganges River in various parts of the nation are a relevant example of such regions, when considering their large population and limited control on pollutant emission. The Namami Gange Programme, a flagship initiative by the Indian government, aims to address pollution, conserve, and rejuvenate the river Ganges. River Ganges a critical water source for a large population vulnerable to contamination. To perform effective management, it is essential to map the sources of pollution and processes that impact water quality.

One water quality parameter that can be used as a tracer for pollution is the particulate matter concentration (C SPM ). As C SPM along the Ganges presents high spatio-temporal variability, we developed an automated remote estimation framework using Sentinel-2 time-series products and cloud computing capabilities. We use this framework to retrieve the spatio-temporal patterns of C SPM in pre, during, and post Covid-19 scenarios on three sites along the river. Our goals were both to evaluate different C SPM estimation algorithms for the Ganges and to describe the resulting C SPM spatio-temporal patterns and changes during the pandemic period. Four published estimation models and resulting C SPM were compared. Our results show convergent estimations of increase in C SPM in the Ganges in the post-pandemic period compared with the pre-pandemic period, with a complex pattern during the pandemic period, with trends depending on the region and algorithm. The tradeoffs of the different estimation algorithms and the significance of the results for management application are then discussed. Keywords: Water Quality, Ganges, Sentinel-2, Spatiotemporal modelling, India

Speaker biography: Dr. Subhajit Bandopadhyay is a remote sensing scientist in the field of optical and hyperspectral remote sensing for water quality, vegetation, and environmental management practices, particularly working on water and vegetation spectroscopy, water quality monitoring, disaster management, and algorithm development. His work has been focused on disentangling and analyzing optical and hyperspectral spectra to better understand water quality for efficient water management practices. He is currently exemplified as an Assistant Professor at the Rashtriya Raksha University (Indian Central University and an Institute of National Importance), India. Previously he tenured as a postdoctoral research fellow at the prestigious remote sensing lab at the University of Southampton, UK. Beyond his research and editorial pursuits, Dr. Bandopadhyay is renowned for his exceptional ability to cultivate and sustain fruitful collaborations with researchers and scientists globally.

VIDEO       Chatlog

A GEE toolkit for water quality monitoring from 2002 to 2022 in support of SDG 14 and coral health in marine protected areas in Belize

presented by Ileana Aracely Callejas, Biola University, USA
January 16, 2024 16:00 UTC

Abstract: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 (“Life Below Water”) addresses the need to conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas, and marine ecosystems, including reef systems. Belize’s coral reef system is the second largest in the world, providing sources of income to Belizeans through tourism and fisheries as well as coastline protection. In order to conserve their marine ecosystems, Belize has a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) throughout their coastal waters. Using Aqua MODIS satellite imagery from 2002 to 2022, Google Earth Engine, and RStudio, we present a workflow to calculate stress days on MPAs and a coral vulnerability index based on sea surface temperature (SST) and Kd (490), a proxy of water clarity. The coral vulnerability index was calculated by calculating the median z-score for all MPAs for each parameter and assigning ordinal values based on their distribution. The Corozal Bay, Swallow Caye, Port Honduras, and South Water Caye MPAs had the highest percentages of stress days and coral vulnerability stress index score based on these two parameters among the 24 MPAs analyzed. Additionally, SST in the warmest month of the year in Belize were seen to increase across all MPAs from 2002 to 2022 (p < 0.01). This GEE toolkit provides a straightforward and accessible tool to help governments monitor both water quality and risks to coral reefs in accordance with SDG 14.

Speaker Bio:  Dr. Ileana Callejas is an Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences at Biola University in Southern California. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering from UCLA, where she also obtained her Master of Science in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering and her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a minor in Environmental Engineering. Her research focuses on studying the fate and transport of antibiotic resistance in rivers and beaches. Additionally, she uses satellite remote sensing for coastal water quality monitoring, particularly in Belize. In this capacity, she has collaborated with institutions such as the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute, and the Belize Wildlife Conservation Society. Callejas is committed to integrating authentic research experiences and evidence-based approaches into her classroom. In May 2024, she will partake in the NASA Postdoctoral Program at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Ca continuing her work in Belize. Ileana is a first-generation Latina, born and raised in Los Angeles, California.

VIDEO      Chatlog

Sensitivity Analysis of Machine Learning Models to Atmospheric Correction over Lake Amatitlán, Guatemala

by Daniela Rivera-Ruiz, Universidad de Concepción
November 29, 2023 – 17:00 UTC

Summary: This study evaluated the impact of atmospheric correction on machine learning models mapping cyanobacterial blooms extension using Lake Amatitlán, Guatemala as a case study. Through a supervised classification of distinct bloom formations, two methodological approaches were adopted for model development.: 1) a common threshold of cumulative explained variance was used to determine the number of principal components (PC) for dimensionality reduction across all datasets, and 2) the number of PCs for each dataset was tailored individually. The findings underscore the importance of exploring different atmospheric correction methodologies in enhancing machine learning techniques in the context of satellite-based inland water monitoring.
Abstract: This study evaluated the sensitivity of machine learning models to atmospheric correction over Lake Amatitlán, Guatemala, utilizing Sentinel 2 Multi-Spectral Instrument imagery acquired between 2019 and 2023. Supervised classification of false color images allowed us to construct datasets that distinguish areas based on the presence of chlorophyll-a, serving as a proxy for algal blooms. Pink-fuchsia-red colors, indicative of high chlorophyll-a levels, were categorized as Class 0, while dark blue and black tones over the water, signaling low or absent chlorophyll-a, were designated as Class 1. Utilizing approximately 10,000 georeferenced points from this dataset, we extracted spectral reflectances from top-of-atmosphere (TOA), bottom-of-atmosphere (Sen2Cor, DOS), and water leaving reflectance (C2RCC, C2X, C2XC, ACOLITE) across bands B1-B8A. We developed machine learning models using two distinct approaches with algorithms including Random Forest, XGBoost, Gradient Boosting, and Support Vector Classifier. The first approach used the TOA dataset as a baseline, where a threshold of cumulative explained variance (> 70%) determined the number of principal components (PCs) for dimensionality reduction across all datasets. Conversely, the second approach tailored the number of PCs to the same variance threshold, allowing for varying numbers of PCs across datasets. A sensitivity analysis, employing an unseen test dataset, was conducted to select the best-performing model in conjunction with the corresponding atmospheric correction processor. The analysis revealed that the DOS method achieved superior results (accuracy, precision, recall, and F1-score ~ 0.985) for land-based processors, while C2RCC delivered the best results (accuracy, precision, recall, and F1-score ~ 0.889) with the first approach for water-based processors. For the second approach, the adjustment of PCs was not applicable to land-based processors, which already met the > 70% variance threshold. Thus, we adjusted the PCs specifically for the water-based processors. This led to an improvement in C2RCC’s performance (accuracy, precision, recall, and F1-score ~ 0.919). This study demonstrates that robust machine learning models can effectively manage uncertainties associated with atmospheric correction over inland waters. The results highlight the necessity for a more comprehensive exploration of both land and water-based atmospheric correction methods suitable for machine learning techniques. Furthermore, the proposed methodology could serve as a viable alternative in scenarios where there is a scarcity of radiometric data for validating atmospheric correction processors in machine learning applications.

Speaker Bio: Daniela Rivera Ruiz is an Environmental and Civil Engineer, graduated from the University of Playa Ancha. She holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering with a specialization in Water Resources, and is a Doctoral Candidate (Dra.(C)) in Water Resources at the University of Concepción, Chile. Her doctoral thesis project is focused on developing a methodology to detect cyanobacterial blooms in Araucanian Lakes utilizing satellite imagery and machine learning techniques. Daniela has served as an academic at the Faculty of Science, University of Bío-Bío, where she instructed courses in Hydrology and Geographic Information Systems for Satellite Imagery to students pursuing degrees in Engineering in Natural Resources. She is also a research collaborator in the Water Research Center for Agriculture and Mining (CRHIAM). Currently, she is a Research Assistant at the Climate Change and Environmental Unit (UCCMA) within the Ibero-American Institute of Sustainable Development (IIDS) at the Autonomous University of Chile. She is actively engaged in two projects funded by the National Agency of Research and Development (ANID): Fondecyt/1231551 (2023-2026) titled “A theoretical-mathematical model to evaluate the integrity of freshwater ecosystems,” and ATE/220060 (2023-2025) titled “Climate change and multiple local stressors in freshwater ecosystems.”

VIDEO and Chatlog


State of the Science Water Quality Forecasting Part 3: 

Monitoring Coastal Water Quality through Earth Observation: An Early Warning Tool  

November 7, 2023 – 14:00 UTC

Bio: Mar Roca. Degree in Marine Sciences from the Catholic University of Valencia (UCV) in 2018, being awarded with the UCV Innovation Award for her BSc final project. MSc in GIS and Data Science by Esri, awarded with the Extraordinar prize for the best grades 2018-2019 and with attendance at the Esri User Conference (San Diego, California) defending her MSc final project, where she received the International Esri Young Scholar Award 2019. After the technical specialization, she completed the MSc in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the University of Cádiz (UCA), developing her MSc final project on remote sensing Copernicus products and coastal management at the Institute of Marine Sciences of Andalusia (ICMAN-CSIC) thanks to the competitive contract JAE Intro 2020 of the Spanish Ministry, for which was awarded by the MSc Extraordinary Prize 2020-2021.

In parallel, she has worked on her own through projects associated with environmental consultancies and NGOs related to the coastal and marine environment and developing ad-hoc geospatial solutions, web mapping applications and cartographic products. Since Decemeber 2021, she has been working on her PhD thesis at the ICMAN-CSIC focused on optical coastal remote sensing, water quality monitoring and blue carbon accounting of marine organisms through image processing. Her thesis is entitled “Monitoring the Coastal Zone: new tools based on Aquatic Remote Sensing Techniques”, where she uses images from satellites to develop algorithms and generate useful solutions for coastal management. She worked at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) based in Berlin (Germany) as a Guest Researcher with Dr. Dimosthenis Traganos within the Global Seagrass Watch project, where she developed a geospatial monitoring tool for seagrass monitoring through Sentinel-2 imagery and Machine Learning algorithms within Google Earth Engine.

All the results obtained during her career have been presented at national and international conferences including Google (Mountain View, California), as well as transferred to Q1 peer-reviewed scientific publications. In addition, she has experience in field campaigns, diving (advance + nitrox), data processing and visualization, mapping, and reporting, having also completed 4 environmental and geospatial volunteers.

VIDEO      ChatLog

State of the Science Water Quality Forecasting Part 2: (see video link below)

October 26, 2023 – 13:00 UTC

NOAA’s HAB Forecasting  

by Rick Stumpf, NOAA  (read biography here)

Forecasting Water Quality from Space

by Ralf Quast, Brockmann Consult  (read biography here)

Abstract: Water quality is routinely measured and monitored in situ and from space. Forecasting of water quality is of potential interest for mitigations of risks concerning public health and industy. However, EO water quality retrievals have not been used much for forecasting of water quality yet. The objective of the research project “Forecasting Water Quality from Space” funded by ESA’s permanently open call for proposals on “EO Science for Society” is to develop an EO data-driven methodology facilitating credible short term forecasting (up to several days) of coastal and inland water quality in terms of turbidity, concentration of chlorophyll-a, and occurrence of harmful algal blooms. The research has started very recently (September 2023). The outline of the project and its key ideas are presented with the aim to establish interaction with the wider scientific community.

Machine learning algorithms for short-term forecasting of phytoplankton dynamics

by Evangelos Romas (read biography here) and Apostolos Tzimas (read biography here), both of EMVIS


Water Talks: Advancing Diversity and Equity in Aquatic Remote Sensing

Remote sensing experiences in monitoring inland water quality indicators in central Argentina within the framework of the 2030 sustainable development goals: A hyperspectral approach

by Dra. Anabella Ferral, Instituto Gulich, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba &amp; Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE); Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de Argentina (CONICET)


October 25, 2023 – 13:00 UTC


Abstract: Global change, understood as a response to the sum of anthropic and natural pressures on ecosystems, modifies the stationary balance of our planet, impacting the life on Earth. Recently, the United Nations Statistical Commission proposed a series of quantitative indicators to measure the impact of public policies for each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. In particular, SDG Goal 6 refers to the care of water resources and the provision of safe water and sanitation. Among the most relevant problems is the advanced eutrophication of water bodies. The excess of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that reach rivers, lakes and oceans acelerate this process, which is manifested by the excessive proliferation of some microscopic algae and harmful cyanobacteria. Eutrophication in numerous water bodies across Argentina has consistently led to significant fish mortality, as well as episodes of unpleasant odors and flavors in reservoirs designated for both, human consumption and recreational activities. Given this, citizens have requested urgent control, prevention and mitigation measures from the municipal, provincial and national authorities. Satellite information has been used for this purpose since 1972, based on biomass detection approaches leveraging chlorophyll a concentration as an indicator. In this webinar, we present multidimentional remote sensing approaches to characterize eutrophication processes in San Roque reservoir, central Argentina, in which spatial, temporal and spectral resolutions of satellite data are analyzed. Firstly, we show results related to [Chlorophyll-a] models built by means of Landsat 8-OLI, Sentinel 2-MSI and TERRA-MODIS imagery to characterize pollution sources, the effect of mitigation measures, spatio-temporal trends as well as seasonal and interannual patterns. For the three sensors we found better models for the band ratio NIR_860nm/RED, obtaining the best performace for Sentinel-2 with a R2 equal to 0.77 and a RMSE equal 34.07 mg/m3. We also present novel results related to absorbance, fluorescence and reflectance spectral measurements of cyanobacteria cultures such as Microcysitis sp, Dolichospermum, and Pseudoanabaena. In this context, we analize a hyperspectral PRISMA image acquired during a severe bloom event in San Roque reservoir and evaluate spectral similarity between laboratory and satellite spectral signatures with the Normalized Similarity Index. Finally, we present future perspectives in the frame of next generation hyperspectral satellite missions, such as PACE, and the future Argentine multispectral mission “SABIA-Mar,” to be launch in 2025.

Bio: Anabella Ferral has PhD in Chemistry and MSc. in Space Applications for Early Warning and Response to Emergencies from the National University of Córdoba (UNC) and the National Commission for Space Activities (CONAE), Argentina. She worked for the Secretary of Water Resources of Córdoba province in water resource monitoring and was the Head of the Master’s Degree in Spatial Information Applications at the Gulich Institute from 2015 to 2020. Currently she works at Gulich Institute as an Assistant Researcher of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina (CONICET) and as a Professor. Her research focuses on remote sensing of aquatic environmental quality indicators within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through the integration of information from Earth observations, numeric simulations, field campaigns, and laboratory measurements.. Since September 2023, she has served as Associate Editor of the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Magazine published by IEEE-GRSS.



Alp-Lakes (Alpine Lake Water Quality Forecasting): Towards the symbiosis of Hydrodynamic Models and Satellites

Albofazl Irani, EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science &amp; Technology, Surface Waters – Research and
Management, Duebendorf, Switzerland and the  Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Marina Amodori, Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment (IREA), National Research Council of Italy (CNR),
Milan, Italy and the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Trento, Italy


October 11, 2023, 12:00 UTC


Abstract: AlpLakes, a project in the ESA Regional Initiative for the Alpine Region, provides a new, integrated implementation of satellite Earth observation, hydrodynamic modeling, and in situ measurements. In this webinar, we demonstrate the structure and features of AlpLakes with an emphasis on integrating remote sensing transparency products into a 3D hydrodynamic model, and tracking of observed satellite TSM/Chl-a patterns with the developed tools. Hindcasting, real-time, and forecasting model functionalities are integrated with satellite imagery in an open access web-based platform ( This operational platform provides a common tool for scientists, decision makers and the broader public, and aims at improving the management of lakes in the Alpine region as well as the public perception of environmental processes in their immediate living space.
As examples of potential use-cases, investigation of an algal bloom event in Lake Geneva and a resuspension event in Lake Garda will be presented. The webinar will address the following topics:
– The urgency of integrating remote sensing and modeling (Marina, ~10 min)
– Overview remote sensing products and particle tracking (Abolfazl, ~10 min)
– Science use-cases (Abolfazl &amp; Marina, ~15 min)
– Live demonstration of AlpLakes operational web platform (Marina, ~6 min)

Speaker Bios:
Abolfazl (Fazel) IRANI RAHAGHI is currently a postdoc in the Remote Sensing Group at Eawag and Remote Sensing Laboratory at University of Zurich, Switzerland. He received his PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering in 2018 from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) followed by a postdoc at the same institute. His work at EPFL mainly focused on investigating spatiotemporal variability of air-water heat exchange and lake surface water temperature (LSWT) using spaceborne and airborne LSWT products and 3D hydrodynamic models. He then joined Eawag in 2020 as a postdoc, and has been involved in several research projects including optical closure of aquatic reflectance, Calibration/Validation of remote sensing reflectance and water quality products, as well as integration of satellite products, 3D hydrodynamic models, and particle tracking.

Marina AMADORI is currently a post-doc at CNR-IREA in Milan, Italy. She earned a PhD in Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Trento in 2020. During her doctoral studies she was involved in research projects and consultancy activities aimed at understanding transport processes and anthropogenic impacts in medium-sized lakes, mostly in the alpine area. Her research area is physical limnology, her tools are numerical models and remote sensing. At CNR-IREA she is currently working on the integration of satellite products, atmospheric and hydrodynamic modelling, and in-situ measurements in lakes. Since 2020 her activity has had a specific effort towards the development of new tools and paths of joint research for the different disciplines addressing water quality and climate change impacts on lakes and reservoirs.

Video       Chatlog

Copernicus Evolution – Research for harmonised and Transitional-water Observation (CERTO) | Remote sensing products, indicators and prototype

September 26, 2023- 12:00 UTC
by Eirini Politi, Brockmann Consult

and consortium Steve Groom, Ben Calton, Emmanuel Nwokocha, Thomas Jackson, Victor Martinez Vicente, Elizabeth C. Atwood, Andrew Tyler, Evangelos Spyrakos, Dalin Jiang, Francois Steinmetz, Didier Ramon, Federico Falcini, Federica Braga, Vittorio Brando, Mariano Bresciani, Ana C. Brito, Giulia Sent, Mara Gomes, Vanda Brotas, Adriana M. Constantinescu, Adrian Stanica, Carole Lebreton, Kerstin Stelzer, Carsten Brockmann, Dawn Ashby, Federico Ienna, Kevin Ramirez, Beatrice Malnati, Stefka Domuzova, Antonia Matthies, Kim Hockley, Luz Rodríguez-Vargas.

Abstract: In this webinar, the H2020 CERTO project outputs will be presented and the CERTO prototype shall be demonstrated.  The need for improved remote sensing techniques that complement in-situ campaigns for reliable and consistent monitoring of water quality (WQ) in different water body types is pivotal to addressing UN Sustainable Development Goals and complying with European surface water monitoring policies. Three European Copernicus services (Marine, Climate Change and Land) provide satellite-based WQ information in oceanic, shelf and lake waters. Although transitional waters are partly covered by the Copernicus Marine coastal service, there is currently no coherent approach across the three services nor consistent products across the water continuum. Harmonised, transferable, robust and reliable approaches have long been needed to map WQ water bodies from oceans to coasts, to inland waters. To address this gap, the H2020 CERTO project has produced harmonised WQ datasets suitable for integration in the Copernicus services and uptake by downstream users such as water resource managers.

Six transitional sites were selected to develop and demonstrate the CERTO methodology: i) Danube Delta and Razelm-Sinoe Lagoon System; ii) Venice Lagoon; iii) Tagus Estuary; iv) Plymouth Sound; v) Elbe Estuary and vi) Curonian Lagoon. An extensive in-situ dataset of bio-geo-optical and above-water radiometry measurements was collected in these sites in 2020-2022, first contributing to and then exploiting a global in-situ spectral database (LIMNADES). The radiometry measurements were used to evaluate the best performing atmospheric correction algorithm, while the impact of adjacency and bathymetry effects on the observations was investigated and novel mitigation techniques were developed. Next, optical water type (OWT) classifications were created and implemented using Sentinel 2 MSI and Sentinel 3 OLCI data across a range of optical environments. The in-situ data were then used to test the best-performing in-water WQ retrieval algorithms per water type and to attribute water types to optical-biogeochemical and environmental traits.

In parallel, responding to user requirements collected from interviews with 18 local and national stakeholders in six European countries, new or improved water quality indicators were developed based on the improved CERTO products to ensure compliance with specific monitoring requirements. These indicators use estimates of turbidity and chlorophyll-a concentrations and include region-specific mean values, anomalies, percentiles (e.g., chlorophyll-a 90th percentile) and trends, among others. The CERTO indicators range from those tailored to fulfil spatial planning and water resource management needs of industries and local authorities, to those that help to better understand ecosystem functioning and provide input to European surface water quality status reporting. Finally, aiming to provide an overview of lagoon systems and highlight hotspots of vulnerability to climate change and other anthropogenic pressures, the Social-Ecological System Vulnerability Index (SESVI) has been developed, integrating CERTO indicators and various other multidisciplinary data (in-situ, modelled, RS).

All CERTO products have been brought together in the open-access CERTO prototype that can be operated as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and used to generate an archive of Sentinel 2 and 3 WQ products in the six sites. The indicators and other CERTO by-products are now being considered for commercial or other exploitation.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Politi specializes in Aquatic Remote Sensing & GIS Applications with Brockmann Consult GMBH, where she has worked since 2020.  She is especially involved in Water Systems Products, Indicator Development, Project Management, Sustainable Development, User Engagement, Product Visualisations, Dissemination & Promotion of earth observation.  She earned her Bachelors Honors degree in Marine Science at University of Aegean, her  MSC (DISTINCTION) in REMOTE SENSING, IMAGE PROCESSING AND APPLICATIONS, and Ph.D. degrees in REMOTE SENSING OF LAKE WATER QUALITY at University of Dundee.  She was previously employed by Odermatt and Brockmann, GMBH in Switzerland and held several senior post-doctoral researcher positions at University of Dundee and University College Cork, MARINE AND RENEWABLE ENERGY CENTRE, ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH
INSTITUTE.  She has also held various research positions at academic institutions and worked in private industry.

VIDEO     Chatlog

The GLORIA Dataset

by Nima Pahlevan,  Daniela Gurlin, Moritz Lehmann, and Daniel Andrade Maciel

June 22, 2023 – 19:00 UTC

Satellite data are now central to assessments of aquatic biodiversity, climate change impacts, trophic states, and primary productivity of surface waters. Using satellite data for water quality applications can mean overcoming the challenges of atmospheric corrections and algorithms development/testing on the basis of a large amount of in situ data to account for the bio-geo-optical diversity of inland and coastal waters. The GLObal Reflectance community dataset for Imaging and optical sensing of Aquatic environments (GLORIA) is an international effort that includes 7,572 curated hyperspectral remote sensing reflectance (Rrs, sr-1) measurements, with co-located measurements of water quality attributes, addressing such data needs. Our work has led to a large, comprehensive, difficult-to-collect dataset of existing measurements contributed from the global bio-optical research community in a grass-roots, collaborative effort with the goal of enabling scientific and technological advancement towards operational regional and global remote sensing of water quality monitoring. The presented material provides an introduction to the need for GLORIA and its origin story, an overview of the dataset and methods, a description of its radiometric diversity and quality control, information on data access, and insights in its exploratory analysis using R and Python and is seeking to provide a firsthand resource for its use. More information including a link to the GLORIA dataset can be found in our Data Descriptor in Scientific Data and associated ‘Behind the Paper’ blog post in the Nature Portfolio Earth and Environment Community.

  1. Need for GLORIA and its origin story (Nima -10mins) 
  2. Overview of the dataset and methods (Daniela-10mins)
  3. Radiometric diversity and QC (Moritz-10mins)
  4. Data access and exploratory analysis using R and Python (Daniel-10mins)
  5. Q&A
Speaker Bios: 

Nima Pahlevan, Principal Scientist for the Freshwater Sensing Program, SSAI & NASA GSFC: Dr. Nima Pahlevan is the principal scientist for the Freshwater Sensing Program of Science Systems and Applications Inc. (SSAI) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). His main area of research lies within the remote sensing of water resource domain focused on algorithm developments, calibration/validation, impacts of climate variability on water quality, harmful algal blooms (HABs), and relevant applied science practices (e.g., biodiversity, water quality issues induced by hurricanes, wildfires, land-use/landcover change, urban developments, agricultural practices, illegal mining). Pahlevan serves on PACE, Landsat, and Terra/Aqua/SNPP science teams, and contributes to the Surface Biology Geology (SBG) mission. In collaboration with a large network of national and international collaborators (300+), Dr. Pahlevan has contributed 45+ peer-reviewed publications and has been cited 4300+ (h-index: 29), according to Google Scholar.

Daniela Gurlin, Natural Resources Research Scientist: Daniela worked on different aspects of the development of a remote sensing program to measure lake water quality, in-lake vegetation, and riparian development for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Her main tasks lied in the adaptation of previously developed image processing protocols for the creation of annual statewide water clarity products to new satellite sensors and the field spectroscopy of lakes and flowages across Wisconsin to support the development and application of bio-optical algorithms for the estimation of optically significant constituent concentrations. She relocated to Germany in 2020 and works from her home in Berlin where she provides technical assistance in remote sensing and data management including the work on the GLORIA database. She enjoys exploring new venues in her ever changing hometown.

Moritz Lehmann, Senior Oceanographer, Starboard Maritime IntelligenceMoritz works on lake water quality monitoring using satellites and hyperspectral in situ sensors.  He moved with his family to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2014 from Canada where he has conducted several field campaigns to characterize the great bio-geo-optical diversity of New Zealand lakes. Moritz was a co-lead of a project to improve cyanobacteria bloom detection by satellite, and he is an international advisor for the Australian AquaWatch mission. Later this year, Moritz hopes to hear of funding success for Clear Shores, a proposal for a New Zealand space mission focussed on water quality. Moritz works from his home in Raglan where he practices horsemanship and longboard surfing.

Daniel Maciel, Environmental Engineer, Instrumentation Laboratory for Aquatic Ecosystems – LabISA-INPE: Daniel Maciel is an environmental engineer who loves the art, science, and technology of remote sensing. Daniel started to work specifically on water quality remote sensing at the Instrumentation Laboratory for Aquatic Ecosystems – (LabISA/INPE), evaluating remote sensing algorithms to retrieve suspended sediments in the complex ecosystems of the Amazon Floodplain lakes. During his doctoral research, he studied how remote sensing could be used to estimate water transparency on several scales (local-to-global). Daniel is currently engaged in projects centered on i) developing state-of-the-art water quality products for Brazilian Inland waters (MAPAQUALI) and ii) evaluating how water transparency and remote sensing could be used to better understand phytoplankton biodiversity in the Amazon Floodplains lakes (BONDS/SABERES). In addition, Daniel is also a fan, user, and teacher of the R programming language. He maintains an Instagram page dedicated to scientific knowledge sharing (@radar.geo) on remote sensing and programming languages. Since 2021, Daniel’s R courses have attracted over 1000 students in Brazil, further empowering the scientific community with valuable programming skills.

VIDEO               Chatlog Text

AquaWatch Australia

by Neil Sims, Acting Deputy Director of AquaWatch Australia, CSIRO

May 11, 2023 – 10:00 UTC (meeting link below)

Abstract:  This seminar will be an introduction to the CSIRO AquaWatch Australia Mission just announced, which will deliver a world first ground-to-space water quality monitoring system for Australia and the globe.  AquaWatch Australia already has six pilot sites set up within Australia and additional pilots established overseas to monitor water quality for drinking, sanitation, species conservation, hydroelectricity and carbon sequestration in mangrove forests. Dr. Sims will share some insights from early data collection efforts within Australia and abroad.

Once fully operational, the AquaWatch Australia system integrates Earth Observation with other science capabilities like in-situ sensing, ecosystem modelling, engineering, data science and artificial intelligence to provide near real-time updates and predictive forecasting – a weather service for water quality. Using an extensive network of Earth observation satellites and ground-based water sensors, it will support better water quality management, with early warning of harmful events such as toxic algal blooms, blackwater and runoff contamination. Working with a range of implementation partners, including researchers and industry, AquaWatch Australia will collect and process data from rivers to coasts, with the ability to monitor bays, coastal wetlands, aquaculture farming, mangrove forests and coral reefs.

Speaker Bio: Neil Sims Ph.D. is a Research Manager at CSIRO Australia, with more than 25 years’ experience in the application of EO technologies to fields including ecosystem monitoring, forestry, land degradation assessment and water resources monitoring and modelling. He is a Program Manager of CSIRO’s Space Technology Future Science Platform, which funds more than 20 projects across the space domain to build innovation across the Australian space industry. He has worked extensively with CEOS and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and has received two awards for Innovation and Individual Excellence from GEO. He co-Chairs the GEO Land Degradation Neutrality Flagship and recently co-led the review of the GEOSS Platform for GEO, and a new member of the GEO AquaWatch Steering Committee.   As Acting Deputy Director of AquaWatch Australia, a CSIRO-led ‘Mission’ to map water quality from space across Australia and the world, he has established partnerships with international world leaders in the field of water quality monitoring, and helped define the national and global objectives for the Mission. In particular he is particularly interested in connecting Indigenous learnings to technology systems providing water quality information to a wide range of stakeholders.

Video         Chatlog

2023 UN Water Conference Official Side Event: Earth Observations in Support of Water Action 

Date: March 20, 2023

Time: 10:00-11:30 EDT (14:00-15:30 UTC)

UN Environmental Program, in partnership with Deltares, Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Secretariat, Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands, GEO AquaWatch, GEO BluePlanet, GEOHealth, EO4SDGs, Brockmann Consult, and GEOGloWS hosted this 90 minute virtual official side event for the UN Water Conference.  The goal of this side event was to introduce Member States and interested parties to the utility of Earth Observations for water monitoring and identify cross-sectoral partnerships that can support the Water Action Agenda

Please check out our resource page including presentations and the recording

BIOMONDO, BiCOME and BOOMS – Towards Earth Observation supported monitoring of freshwater and marine biodiversity

February 2, 2023    12:00 UTC – by Petra Phillipson, Brockmann Consult Sweden, and Victor Martinez-Vicente, Plymouth Marine Laboratory


Abstract:  The European Space Agency (ESA) activity “Biodiversity+ Precursors” is a contribution to the joint EC-ESA Earth System Science Initiative to advance ESS and its response to the global challenges. The Precursor BIOMONDO is focused on biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems, such as lakes, wetlands and rivers. BiCOME is focused on biodiversity in coastal ecosystems such as intertidal and subtidal seagrass as well as pelagic coastal environments, BOOMS is focused on biodiversity on open ocean waters.  The objective of the Precursors is to identify knowledge gaps and challenges in biodiversity monitoring and to demonstrate and explore possibilities to support these challenges by combining EO based products, biodiversity modelling and in situ data.

Speaker Bios: Petra Philipson holds a PhD in aquatic remote sensing and has served as a remote sensing consultant since 2003. Dr. Philipson is co-founder, vice manager and consultant at Brockmann Geomatics since 2011, with personal interest and focus on aquatic national, European and global assignments and research and development projects. Petra is also the Project Manager for BIOMONDO.

Victor Martinez Vicente has a PhD in marine optics and is currently a senior scientist working at Plymouth Marine Laboratory since 2002, with a research focus on developing new algorithms from ocean colour remote sensing for scientific and societal applications in the marine environment such as marine debris and biodiversity. Victor is the Project Lead for BOOMS and BiCOME.

VIDEO              GEO AquaWatch Webinar – Petra Phillipson and Victor Martinez-Vicente – Meeting Chat

The Real Earth Portal Demo funded by University of Wisconsin

January 26, 2023    16:00 UTC

Visualizing and Integrating Global Water Quality Observations with Embedded RealEarth Web Maps

Sam Batzli, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Space Science and Engineering Center

Abstract:  Researchers at the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) of the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a web-mapping platform called “RealEarth” to improve the integration of geospatial and meteorological data sets in time-series.  Developing a common browser-based interface and API with open standards has enabled juxtaposition of disparate datasets for discovery and situational awareness.  Bringing near real-time satellite observations together with in situ measurements and contextual data has proven valuable in monitoring wildland fires, floods, severe weather events, and now water quality.  A two-year internally funded project for “developing strategic partnerships and improving technical capacity” brought together Sam Batzli of SSEC and Steve Greb of GEOAquaWatch.  Together they developed an open, web-accessible, RealEarth-based embedded set of map displays of satellite-derived water quality information.  It includes in situ data sources with graphs and incorporates daily updates that have the potential to highlight trends that could draw attention to water quality issues.  What makes this interface unique is the automated collection and display of difficult to find data, and the ability to compare and overlay data from disparate sources in a common interface.  This webinar will provide a guided tour of these embedded maps and data sets.

Bio: Dr. Sam Batzli is a data engineer with training in historical and cultural geography. At the UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) he develops access to satellite observations of land, atmosphere, and ocean through GIS and internet mapping. He consults on data interoperability and visualization for colleagues through NOAA-, NSF-, and NASA-funded projects and a broad public user community through the AmericaView education and outreach program.

Links: (general information about RealEarth) (the primary RealEarth interface)

VIDEO         Chatlog

The AquaWatch Google Earth Engine Project funded by GEO

January 10, 2023  by Nate Merrill, Kelly M. Luis, and Benjamin Page


1- Implementation of aquatic based atmospheric correction for Landsat/OLI and Sentinel-2/MSI in Google Earth Engine  by Ben Page, Earth Space Technology Services ESTS, Contractor to the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) center

Abstract: This segment introduces the applicability of an image processing methodology for Level-1 Landsat-8 (OLI) and Sentinel-2 (MSI) satellite image collection datasets within the Google Earth Engine (GEE) environment to estimate the water-leaving remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) for inland and near shore coastal surface water pixels. Current collections of Level-2 generated surface reflectance (SR) products for OLI and MSI are available in GEE but lack the water-leaving reflectance (ρ= Rrs * π) property often needed for semi-analytical and empirical bio-optical investigations that attempt to characterize the inherent optical properties (IOPs), water color, and water quality constituents just below the surface. Here, traditional ocean color image processing techniques are implemented into the GEE JavaScript API alongside corresponding scene-based auxiliary climatological information already ingested into the GEE repository to assist in retrieving realistic Rrs across geographically diverse targets. The advantage of leveraging the GEE cloud computing infrastructure allows for vigorous testing of the performance of MSI and OLI Rrs algorithm development across global regions and scales well with immediate seamless integration into lake and coastal management practices. This is a GEOAquaWatch first attempt at fulfilling the need for a user friendly and accessible application to extend ground based measurements so that regional water quality methods, trends, and assessments may be carried out in a fast, routine manner.

2- What would an environmental economist use it for?   by Nate Merrill, US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development

Abstract: This presentation will cover the motivation for using Google Earth Engine (GEE) for aquatic remote sensing work. This will be followed by an update of the progress made to date by this GEOAquaWatch/GEE project to implement and translate water quality algorithms, specifically the TSS algorithm, SOLID. Lastly, I will give an overview of the GitHub repository for this and future work by the collaboration.

3-Investigations of Aquatic Applications in Google Earth Engine by Kelly M. Luis, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Abstract: The need for global-scale, open access, fit-for-purpose coastal and inland water quality information is shared by scientists, decision-makers, industry professionals, and the general public. GEOAquawatch’s Google Earth Engine (GEE) working group set out to explore the ability for Google Earth Engine to fill this shared need. This webinar will share highlights from the group and host a community discussion on the current GEE needs of the GEOAquawatch community.  Activity highlights include walking through open-source atmospheric correction methods in GEE and the derivation of water quality parameters with machine learning methods. We welcome participants from all backgrounds to engage in this webinar and future activities of the GEOAquawatch GEE group.

Speaker Bios:  Ben Page is a remote sensing scientist at the US Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) center.  He has earned a Master of Science in geography -remote sensing from the University of Georgia, and Bachelor of Science in cellular and molecular biology from University of Minnesota Duluth.

Nate Merrill is an environmental economist who studies the costs and benefits of improvements in coastal water quality to support the US Environmental Protection Agency’s cost-benefit analyses and state and local partner’s needs. Through surveys, emerging data resources, modeling and on-site observations, the cost and benefits of coastal water quality can be quantified, informing policymakers on the effects, in monetary terms, of protecting and improving natural resources in the coastal zone. Through collaboration with ecologists, oceanographers and remote sensing experts, he works to create and test new representations of human behavior and environmental quality at the scales that better match economic methods.

Kelly Luis is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on the bio-optical validation of aquatic imaging spectroscopy and leveraging imaging spectroscopy datasets for water quality and biodiversity mapping.


Low cost and high-autonomy sensors and platforms for optical water quality monitoring –  final results from the MONOCLE project

November 2 2022 at 13:00 UTC (note daylight savings may affect your local starting time) by Stefan Simis, Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Abstract: The MONOCLE project has developed an affordable ecosystem of networked sensors and platforms to provide better integration of optical monitoring methods for water quality and atmospheric properties with satellite observation and citizen science. Methods range from low-cost/low-tech devices to the use of consumer drones, to fully automated reference systems for ships-of-opportunity and offshore platforms. These in situ observation solutions are supported through an open data ecosystem based on standardized data services. With the completion of the project, MONOCLE sensors, platforms and services have started entering the market for use by monitoring agencies and research organisations.

In this seminar, Prof Stefan Simis (project coordinator, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK) will present an overview of the sensors, systems and services developed and tested between the twelve consortium partners operating in Europe and Africa, highlighting sensor synergies and new insights from high-frequency observations. The seminar will conclude with a number of recommendations (for discussion) for follow-on research, and actions recommended for environment and space agencies to achieve sustainable observation networks in support of satellite calibration/validation and monitoring progress of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 776480.

Speaker Bio: Stefan Simis is a phytoplankton ecologist using bio-optics to study biogenous matter in coastal and inland waters. His scientific contributions include remote sensing algorithm development, in situ sensor development and automation (mainly reflectance and fluorescence systems), citizen science solutions and bio-optical modelling based on laboratory experiments and field campaigns. Stefan joined the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in 2014, focussing on operational water quality remote sensing in optically complex water, leading in projects like the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (Lake Water Quality) and the European Space Agency Climate Change Initiatives (Lake Colour) and supervising student projects ranging from satellite algorithm development to in situ fluorometry. Stefan was the scientific coordinator of the recently concluded MONOCLE project.

VIDEO          CHATLOG            Email Presenter:



PrimeWater Series- Modelling

October 26, 2022 at 12pm UTC
Testing multi-spectral satellite data for the development of data-driven models of phytoplankton dynamics in surface waters by Kyriakos Kandris, EMVIS

The webinar investigates the suitability of multi-spectral satellite imagery as a source of phytoplankton-related data for the development of credible and accountable data- driven models. Data-driven models are routinely deployed for the modeling of phytoplankton dynamics. Nonetheless, such data-oriented efforts are often plagued by two issues, i.e., insufficient data and the lack of interpretability. On one hand, insufficient data result in overfitting, which produces poorly generalizable models that are unreliable under extrapolating conditions. On the other hand, the lack of interpretability hinders the contribution of such models in decision making, since acting upon model predictions relies heavily on understanding why models behave the way they do. As a result, two important questions arise regarding phytoplankton dynamics in lake and reservoir ecosystems: (a) can we develop trustworthy and accurate data-driven algorithms for the prediction and forecasting of phytoplankton dynamics, and (b) can we gain insight in the drivers of phytoplankton dynamics using data-oriented solutions? These two questions motivated the webinar which discusses the extent to which satellite-derived chlorophyll-a allows for the development of theory-guided, data- driven models of phytoplankton dynamics in inland waters.

Speaker Bio :

Dr. Kandris is a Research Associate at EMVIS for the PrimeWater Project. He delivers Advanced Predictive Tools from Medium to Seasonal Range for Water Dependent Industries Exploiting the Cross-Cutting Potential of Earth Observations and Hydro-Ecological Modelling.  He holds Engineering degree in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental engineering, M.S. in Water Resources Science and Technology, and Ph.D. in Bioremediation of chloroethene contaminated sites – all earned from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

Video Link        Chatlog

    PrimeWater Series:

Imaging spectroscopy for aquatic ecosystems: research and applications with PRISMA by Claudia Giardino, CNR

September 14 2022 at 12pm UTC

Abstract: The webinar presents research efforts we developed in the last few years with PRISMA (PRecursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa) to demonstrate the benefit of spaceborne imaging spectroscopy in aquatic applications. The presented activities, which also incorporate contributions from the scientific community, embrace the satellite mission description, the evaluation of PRISMA products for their specific use in water quality applications, hence covering the challenges of atmospheric corrections and algorithms development/testing. Examples of water quality mapping for several aquatic ecosystems distributed globally are then provided to support the use of current and future hyperspectral satellite missions, also in synergy with multi-spectral remote sensing. Links to a series of tools used in the experiment ‘Exploitation of satellite imaging spectrometry for mapping phytoplankton and aquatic vegetation’ developed in the EO Virtual Lab of the H2020 PrimeWater project, are provided during the presentation.

Speaker Bio: Claudia Giardino is research director at the National Research Council of Italy, Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment (CNR-IREA). She has a degree in environmental engineering and PhD in remote sensing sciences, both received from Politecnico di Milano (Italy). Since about 25 years she performing R&D activities in inland and coastal water quality remote sensing with interest on retrieval of bio-physical parameters from EO, cal/val, hyperspectral remote sensing and more recently on using EO to assess climate change effects on lakes. She is member of the IOCCG Committee. She regularly supervises Ms.Sci. and PhD students, mostly from University of Milano Bicocca and Politecnico di Milano, while she is providing tutoring for students of international internship.

Video                       Chatlog 

Calculated risk: Leveraging multi-mission compositing and machine learning for managing cyanoHABs

Dr. Kate Fickas, United States Geological Survey (USGS) Mendenhall Fellow, EROS Center and University of California Santa Barbara Climate Hazard Center.

April 28th, 2022, 2pm UTC   (see meeting login details below)

Presenter: Dr. Kate Fickas, USGS/UCSB

Abstract:Monitoring cyanoHABs in lakes and reservoirs with remote sensing requires robust processing techniques for generating accurate and consistent products across local and global scales at high revisit rates. In this research, we leverage the high spatial and temporal resolution chlorophyll-a (Chla) and phycocyanin (PC) maps from two multispectral satellite sensors, the Sentinel-2 MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) and the Sentinel-3 Ocean Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) respectively, to study bloom dynamics and risk management outcomes in Utah Lake, USA using both single-mission and multimission-composite datasets. We use established machine-learning-based mixture density networks (MDNs) to map Chla from MSI and train new MDNs for PC retrieval from OLCI, using the same architecture and training dataset previously proven for PC retrieval from hyperspectral imagery. An extensive set of PC field data matchups from Green Bay demonstrate the reduced sensitivity of the MDNs to uncertainties in the remote sensing reflectance that would otherwise be caused by instrument noise and atmospheric correction. The applicability of the MDNs to Utah Lake, despite Utah Lake being outside of the training dataset, is confirmed by comparing PC retrievals from Sentinel-3 to in situ cyanobacteria cell density. Our risk management assessments also show increased spatiotemporal coherence of bloom magnitude, frequency, occurrence, and extent of MDN-based maps compared to other satellite-derived cyanobacteria biomass indicators, yielding potential for use as a cyanoHAB tracking tool to be used by public health and aquatic resource managers in both short- and long-term monitoring scenarios. This flexibility renders MDNs a suitable alternative for generating multimission products from future advancements in aquatic remote sensing such as Landsat Next’s new aquatic bands.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Kate Fickas is a USGS Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center and the University of California, Santa Barbara Climate Hazard Center where she uses dense Landsat time series and climate data to develop new Landsat science products and aid in water resource and land cover forecasting and management. Additionally, her passion lies in wetlands and water quality and she works with collaborators from state and federal agencies to explore novel uses of other satellite missions, such as Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3, for water quality and water resource monitoring. Dr. Fickas received her B.S. from University of Oregon and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Oregon State University with Dr. Warren Cohen in projects characterizing wetland ecohydrological dynamics with Landsat spectral temporal features. She spent time as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evaluating salt marsh wetland vulnerability to sea level rise with UAS and Landsat data fusion. For two years she also acted as the Utah Division of Water Quality’s Harmful Algal Bloom Program Coordinator, collaborating with local health departments and federal agencies in public health and water quality resource management. Dr. Fickas is also the founder and co-director of the outreach group Ladies of Landsat and works towards increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility in the field of earth observation.  

Video     Chatlog  

CIWAWA – City Water Watch: Monitoring urban waters from space

November 4th, 2pm UTC

Presented by: Kerstin Stelzer, Jorrit Scholze, Carole Lebreton (BC), Werner Blohm (HU), Christian Moldaenke (bbe) all of Brockmann Consult GmbH

Abstract: Water bodies are important and intensively used environments in urban areas and in the urban hinterland. They are of great economic interest (e.g. ports), are used for leisure, sports and tourism, and serve to improve the urban climate. The monitoring and management of water bodies in urban areas is mainly in the responsibility of the municipals. These authorities currently make their assessments and decisions based on data collected through in-situ measurements and, in some cases, modeling. New techniques that increase the knowledge about the water bodies and that help to optimize the monitoring programmes is of great interest and were the motivation for the CIWAWA project. Within CIWAWA we combine the techniques from field measurements and remote sensing to optimize the monitoring of urban waters. Installed permanent measuring stations in the city area of Hamburg, Germany and recently developed measurement techniques show the potential of a combined monitoring concept with remote sensing data. Using remote sensing data in urban areas for water quality monitoring, a few special characteristics need to be considered, e.g. objects on the water surface. To integrate the developed products into public authorities, different interfaces are established to demonstrate the benefit and application of the data. During the webinar we will show some of the algorithm developments addressing urban water specialties, the combination of the different measurement techniques as well as different interfaces to users.  CIWAWA wraps in November 2021.

Speaker Bio:  Jorrit Scholze is a Remote Sensing Specialist at Brockmann Consult GmbH since 2020, where he mainly works on EO projects and services for inland waters, including the project CIWAWA-CityWaterWatch.   Jorrit studied MSc Applied Geoinformatics at the University of Trier and gained comprehensive knowledge about remote sensing of different topics during internships in Australia and Germany, traineeships, and his master thesis “Spatiotemporal Improvement of Passive Microwave derived Land Surface Temperatures” in the Netherlands. At Brockmann Consult, Jorrit works on algorithm development, validation, automatization of processes as well as preparation and visualization of remote sensing derived information for users and customers.

Video    Chatlog

GEO AquaWatch New Project Showcase Webinar

This is the Kickoff of the 2021-22 GEO AquaWatch Webinar Series and the final installment of a 4 part Project-based Informational Series begun in March 2021. This particular webinar was an opportunity for the AquaWatch Community to hear five speakers showcase their brand new projects!  Many thanks to all our early career hosts and moderators – we value your contributions to GEO AquaWatch!  

September 9th – New Project Showcase Theme


Host: Megan Coffer, North Carolina State University post-doctoral researcher and USEPA ORISE Fellow- Working Group 4 C0-Chair; Moderator: Sumita Bhattacharyya, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), India.


Anders Knudby, University of Ottawa, Canada Fully Automated Bathymetry, Co-authors: John Hedley, Numerical Optics Ltd.; Christopher Ilori, Simon Fraser University

Hubert Loisel, Laboratory of Oceanology and Geosciences (LOG) France, How Ocean Color Radiometry Can Help Us to Monitor the Global Coastal Waters? Results From the Past GlobCoast and Ongoing CO2Coast Projects, Co-authors: Vincent Vantrepotte, Daniel Jorge, and Cédric Jamet, LOG

James Acker, NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center, USA, Now is the Right Time for CORSAGE (Continuous Orbital Remote Sensing of Archipelagic Geochemical Events), Co-authors: Jude Wilber, Capella Consulting Group; Christopher W. Brown, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR; Albert Hine, University of South Florida College of Marine Science (emeritus); Christopher Sabine, University of Hawaii Manoa SOEST

Andrew Tyler & Peter Hunter, University of Stirling, Scotland’s International Environment Centre: The Forth-Environmental Resilience Array, Sam Barnett, Evangelos Spyrakos, Armando Marino, Carlos: University of Stirling;  Simon Haston, Tim Marshfield Ashleigh Timmins; Patrick Cheffins: British Telecom

Lindsay Wancour, Adventure Scientists, USA, How process leads to action: Adventure Scientists’ inventory of Wild and Scenic Rivers

GEO AquaWatch Project Update Lightning Talks Webinar Series.

A 3 week series offering an opportunity to hear various speakers provide AquaWatch Community project updates in a series of lightning round talks!  Many thanks to the Group on Earth Observations for hosting the videos on their Channel!

April 29, 2021 – Marine Coastal Theme 

Watch the videos here!

Host: Steven Greb, GEO AquaWatch Director; Moderators: Marie “Cindy” Lebrasse, ORISE fellow, USEPA, Ph.D. Candidate at North Carolina State University, Veloisa Mascarenhas, Research Fellow, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK, and Chris Lee, undergraduate student, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA.


Avi Putri Pertiwi, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany, Coastal turbid zone detection using Sentinel-2 imageries on Google Earth Engine cloud platform.  Co-Authors: Dimosthenis Traganos and Chengfa Benjamin Lee, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany

Dimitry Van Der Zande, RBINS, Belgium, The New High-Resolution Coastal Service within CMEMS.  Co-Authors: Kerstin Stelzer, Brockmann Consult; Martin Böttcher, Brockmann Consult; Carole Lebreton, Brockmann Consult; Joao Cardoso dos Santos, RBINS; Sindy Sterckx, VITO; Quinten Vanhellemont, RBINS; Kevin Ruddick, RBINS; and Carsten Brockmann, Brockmann Consult

Veronica Lance, NOAA, USA, NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch/PolarWatch makes the link from aquatic satellite data products to applications and information.

Jordi Sandalinas, Open University of Catalonia, Spain, Maritime earth observation and the EU Copernicus Regulation: legal and economic benefits, a preliminary study.

Steef Peters, Water Insight, Netherlands, Launch of a Commercial service Platform for User-relevant Coastal water monitoring services based on Earth Observation (CoastObs).  Co-authors: Federica Braga, CNR. Vittorio E. Brando, CNR. Tony van der Hiele, HZ University of Applied Sciences. Annelies Hommersom, Water Insight. Pierre Gernez, University of Nantes. Laurent Barillé, University of Nantes. Laura Zoffoli, University of Nantes. Anne-Laure Barillé, Bio-Littoral. Nicolas Harin, Bio-Littoral. Luis González Vilas, University of Vigo. Jesus M. Torres Palenzuela, University of Vigo. Mariana Mata Lara, Geonardo. Andrew Tyler, Stirling University. Peter Hunter, Stirling University. Evangelos Spyrakos, Stirling University. Caitlin Riddick, Stirling University. Shenglei Wang, Stirling University. Dalin Jiang, Stirling University. Jasper van Houcke, HZ University of Applied Sciences. Lazaros Spaias, Water Insight

Els Knaeps, VITO, Belgium, Remote detection of plastic litter in a marine environmentCo-author: Mehrdad Moshtaghi, VITO

May 19 –Coastal Transitional/Estuaries Theme 


Host: Blake Schaeffer, USEPA, GEO AquaWatch Management Team and WG 3 Co-Chair; Moderators: Dulcinea Avouris, Post-doctoral Scholar at the University of California, Merced; Dalin Jiang, Research Fellow, University of Stirling, UK; and Sumita Bhattacharyya, PhD Candidate, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, India.


Adriana Maria Constantinescu, National Institute of Marine Geology and Geoecology (GeoEcoMar), Romania, DANUBIUS-RI: International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems – Observation Node, link between EO and in-situ measurementsCo-authors: Andrew Tyler, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom; Steve Groom, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, United Kingdom; Adrian Stanica, GeoEcoMar & DANUBIUS-PP Consortium

Steve Groom, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom,CERTO Project Progress and the work of many co-authors too numerous to list

Thomas Jordan, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom, Automation and retrieval of remote-sensing reflectance observed from ships-of-opportunity: new directions from the MONOCLE project. Co-authors: Stefan Simis, Plymouth Marine Laboratory; Philipp Grötsch, Gybe;  John Wood, Peak Design.

Xiaohui Zhu, Boston University, USA, A simple method to determine the apparent quantum yield matrix  of CDOM photobleaching in natural waters. Co-authors: William L. Miller, University of Georgia; Cédric G. Fichot, Boston University.

Christiana Ade, University of California Merced, USA, Assessing Fish Habitat Potential and the Effects of an Emergency Barrier on Turbidity in a Drought Impacted Estuary Using Satellite Remote Sensing.  Co-authors: Erin Hestir, University of California Merced  and Christine M. Lee, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Ana B. Ruescas, Brockmann Consult, Germany, SNAP Tools for Coastal and Inland Water Monitoring.Co-authors: Kerstin Stelzer, Marco Peters, Roland Doerffer, Jorrit Scholze, Carole Lebreton and Carsten Brockmann  all of Brockmann Consult.

May 11th –Inland Waters Theme 


Host: Andrew Tyler, University of Stirling, GEO AquaWatch Management Team and WG 5 Co-Chair; Moderators: Megan Coffer, Post-doctoral research fellow, U.S. EPA, North Carolina State University and Mortimer Werther, PhD Candidate, University of Stirling, UK


Daniel Odermatt, Eawag, Switzerland, In situ to in orbit: Optical properties of Swiss lakesCo-authors: Abolfazl Irani Rahaghi (Eawag), Camille Minaudo (EPFL), Alfred Wüest (EPFL/Eawag)

Priyanka Jamwal, Centre for Environment and Development, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), India, Data transparency: Moving from grab sample to real-time water quality monitoringCo-authors: Veena Srinivasan, ATREE

Leif Olmanson, University of Minnesota, United States, Advanced Remote Sensing Methods for Automated Lake Water Quality Mapping. Co-author: David Porter, University of Minnesota

Petra Philipson, Brockmann Geomatics, Sweden, CyanoAlert – Space Based Cyanobacteria Information & Services. Co-authors: Carole Lebreton, Brockmann Consult; Kerstin Stelzer, Brockmann Consult;  Eirini Politi, Brockmann Consult;  Susanne Thulin, Brockmann Geomatics.

Peter Hunter, University of Stirling, United Kingdon, The UK Lakes Observatory: operational water quality products from Sentinel-2 MSI dataCo-authors: Andrew Tyler, Vagelis Spyrakos, Adam Varley, and Matthew Blake, University of Stirling; Claire Neil, Scottish Environment Protection Agency.


April 21, 2021 2pm UTC

Title:  Spectral decomposition using Varimax-rotated, principal component analysis: Transitioning to the Google Earth Environment  by Joseph Ortiz, Kent State University, OH

Abstract:  Varimax-rotated, principal component analysis (VPCA) provides a means of linearly decomposing multispectral and hyperspectral images. This is an important consideration because all remote sensing pixels represent a mixture of spectral responses from the materials present in the pixel. For aquatic systems that mixing occurs at the macroscopic level. While decreasing spectral and spatial dimentions enhances resolution, it cannot fully resolve the mixed pixel problem for that reason. VPCA is a soft unsupervised classification method that partitions image variance into algal and cyanobacterial functional classes, identifies suspended sediment, and pigment degradation products in two complementary way: based on their spectral response or spectral fingerprint and their spatial pattern. The method has been applied to multispectral and hyperspectral sensors in handheld, aerial and orbital applications. This talk will compare several applications and discuss steps currently underway to translate VPCA to the Google Earth Engine environment.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Ortiz earned the Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, from Brown University, Major: Aquatic Biology; and his Ph.D. in Oceanography from  Oregon State University, Corvallis OR, Major: Marine Geology.  “I believe that advances in scientific fields often occur at the interfaces between well established disciplines. Because of this, I have intentionally directed my research objectives toward interdisciplinary paths.  For example, my expertise in aquatic biology allows me to study the response of marine microplankton to their environment to improve the quality of paleoclimate reconstructions. I use my expertise in core and wireline logging methods like diffuse spectral reflectance to quantify physical properties of  deep-sea sediments and to determine provenance of archeological artifacts. Advances in one area often help me to fine tune or develop new approaches for use in other aspects of my research.My research background has provided me with a broad and powerful set of tools with which to attack problems using a multi-dimensional, interdisciplinary approach. My interest in a variety of research topics allows me to continuously refine existing skills while developing new ones. These skills and experiences enable me to conduct significant research on topics ranging from climate change to water quality.  I have received funding for my research through the National Science Foundation, the Ocean Drilling Program, Ohio SeaGrant, NOAA, the KSU Farris Family Innovation Fund for Early Achievement, and the KSU University Research and Teaching Councils.” Find out more here.         View Powerpoint Slide Deck here


March 9, 2021  – 2pm UTC 

Title: Developing a roadmap for future Copernicus water services  by Tiit Kutser, Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu, Estonia

Abstract: Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation programme, is currently providing services in six domains – Atmosphere, Marine, Land, Climate Change, Security and Emergency. Data and products related to water, hydrology and hydrodynamic processes are already delivered under several Services. However, they are provided separately and for specific purposes without considering the global understanding and better representation of the water cycle from regional to global scale. Therefore, the European Commission had a call for a coordination and support action which should develop a Copernicus mission exploitation concept for water. The winning consortium – Water-ForCE, will develop a Roadmap for the water component for the future Copernicus services. This Roadmap will address the current disconnects between remote sensing and in situ observations, deliver clarity in terms of the needs and expectations of the public and private sectors of the core Copernicus Program and the wider research and business innovation opportunities. The Roadmap will contain recommendations at very different levels. For example, the political level recommendations should contain the analysis whether the water services should be split between different services (as they are now), is it reasonable to consolidate all inland (and coastal) water services into one Copernicus Service, or are there other options. On the other hand the Roadmap will contain many practical things like recommendations for future Copernicus missions in order to fulfil better inland and coastal water related needs (e.g. extra bands on Sentinel-2E and other sensors), enlarged service portfolio with higher level biogeochemical products, and a plan for closer cooperation between remote sensing, in situ, and modelling communities in order to build up and optimal network that provides necessary information about inland and coastal waters to policy makers, managers researchers and general public. Significant part of this work is related to inland and coastal water quality. Therefore, the global GEO AquaWatch community is very welcome to have their input into the formation of the future Copernicus Water Services.
Speaker Bio: Tiit Kutser is a Professor and Head of Remote Sensing and Marine Optics Department in the Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu, Estonia. He got his PhD in 1997 with the thesis “Estimation of water quality in turbid inland and coastal waters by passive optical remote sensing”. He was a post-doc in CSIRO, Australia and has worked as a Senior Researcher or Visiting Professor in Finland (Finnish Environment Institute and University of Helsinki), Sweden (Uppsala University and Lund University) and Switzerland (EPFL). He was two terms (2014-2020) an Associate Editor for coastal and inland waters in the Remote Sensing of Environment. His research interests include developing of methods and algorithms for mapping different water quality parameters in complex coastal and inland waters, mapping coral reefs and other shallow water habitats, recognition and quantitative mapping of potentially harmful blooms, the role of lakes in the global carbon cycle and many associated topics.
Video link (coming soon!)  Chat text (coming soon!)


January 14, 2021 2pm UTC

Title: Towards Macroscale Application of Inland Water Remote Sensing by Simon Topp, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Remote sensing has the potential to vastly improve our ability to observe and monitor freshwater resources. While work on the subject dates back more than fifty years, it’s only recently that publications have moved from focusing on algorithm development to the implementation of those algorithms to address challenging science and management questions at large spatiotemporal scales. In this talk, we will explore examples of this macroscale research, including examinations of global river ice cover, national analyses of U.S. lake water clarity and seasonality, and patterns of basin-wide suspended sediment for over 100,000 km of U.S. rivers. Accompanying these examples, we will explore the resources that make applying remote sensing to macroscale questions more accessible than ever. AquaSat, along with similar databases like LIMNADES, provides hundreds of thousands of coincident satellite and field observations to develop and test models for key water quality parameters like chlorophyll-a, suspended sediments, and colored dissolved organic matter. These databases are supplemented by new resources like LimnoSat-US, which contains over 22 million remote sensing observations of U.S. lakes dating back to 1984. Such datasets reduce computational and technical barriers for non-remote sensing experts to incorporate remote sensing into their work. While challenges to implementing remote sensing as a tool for macroscale freshwater research still exist, we are currently in the middle of a paradigm shift moving away from localized analyses towards generalizable models, real-time spatially explicit monitoring, and increased understanding of the complex global dynamics of our freshwater systems.

Speaker Bio: 

Simon Topp is a PhD candidate completing his degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on applying data science and machine learning approaches to large-scale analyses of water resources. This work includes examining long-term patterns in U.S. lake clarity and lake phenology, developing freshwater remote sensing datasets, and examining anthropogenic impacts on freshwater landscapes across the world. Through this work, Simon tries to make remote sensing more accessible to limnologists and ecologists by reducing technical barriers to incorporating satellite observations into research. Simon has led and/or contributed to the development of datasets such as LimnoSat-US and RiverSR, which contain over 35 years of remote sensing observations for all U.S. lakes and rivers respectively, as well as AquaSat, a large labelled U.S. database of coincident field and satellite observations of key water quality parameters. Simon received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Bard College in New York where he focused on the impacts of landuse change to water quality.

Video       Chatlog


December 8, 2020 2pm UTC

Title: Introduction to GEO Citizen Science Overview and Community Discussion by Uta Wehn with commentary by Lea Shanley, Co-Directors of GEO Citizen Science

Abstract:  The webinar will be a brief overview of the GEO Citizen Science Community Activity and their opportunities in the water quality realm, followed by an open community discussion of synergies GEO Citizen Science might have with GEOAquaWatch in assisting water quality project outcomes.
Speaker Bios:
Uta Wehn – Dr. Uta Wehn is Associate Professor of Water Innovation Studies and acting Chair of the Knowledge & Capacity Development group at IHE Delft. She is a social scientist from the field of science, technology & innovation studies, with a background in ICTs, drawing on more than 20 years of combined industrial, research and international development experience. Her work at the intersection of data and knowledge co-creation, digital innovations and water and environment focuses on the social dynamics of innovation and how to harness digital transformations for participatory environmental governance and sustainable development.  She leads the acquisition and implementation of large interdisciplinary research and capacity development projects. Her current Citizen Science projects include case studies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, using LivingLabs principles and tailoring user-centred and multi-stakeholder co-design methods to Citizen Science. She has extensive experience with teaching, MSc and PhD supervision and the facilitation of multi-stakeholder interactions in a range of thematic settings and cultural contexts.  She has over 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals, international conference proceedings and book chapters in the areas of citizen science, citizen observatories and environmental monitoring; participatory environmental governance; stakeholder engagement; co-design methods; business modelling; capacity development and knowledge management; data and knowledge sharing; social innovation and water innovation dynamics. She is a member of several high level international initiatives, incl. the OECD Water Governance Initiative where she has represented IHE Delft since the start of the initiative in 2013. She co-chairs the GEO CITSCI Community Activity of the Group on Earth Observation and the CSGP Community of Practice on Citizen Science & Open Science, and she is a member of the Board of Directors of the European Citizen Science Association.
Lea Shanley –  Trained as a geospatial data scientist and policy expert, Dr. Shanley’s research has focused on improving government services and empowering communities through open and participatory innovation, new technologies and social media. Previously, she was a  Presidential Innovation Fellow at NASA, and founding director of the Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Wilson Center. She is one of the chief organizers and co-founders of the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, a groundbreaking effort to enable federal agencies to engage the public in collective problem solving. In 2009, Lea was an AAAS Congressional Science Fellow in the U.S. Senate, crafting legislation on satellite Earth observations, oceans, and hazards. Lea also helped launch the new Citizen Science Association and Wisconsin Geographic Information Coordination Council. She conducted her PhD research in Environmental Monitoring at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and holds an MS in astronomy and BS in physics.
VIDEO     Chat

Title: LIMNADES Database Demonstration

Presenter: Adam Varley, University of Stirling, Scotland

Date: November 12, 2020 2pm UTC

Abstract  – This will be a hands-on Demonstration of the Revamped LIMNADES Database. The LIMNADES (Lake Bio-optical Measurements and Matchup Date for Remote Sensing) data repository was a concept formed during the GloboLakes research project, which ended in 2018. The database is still maintained at the University of Stirling and poised to become a preferred data repository for inland water quality Calibration/Validation data.  The purpose of the LIMNADES project is to provide a centralised database of ground bio-optical measurements of worldwide lakes through voluntary cooperation across the international scientific community.

LIMNADES is open to new ideas and developing data avenues, such as the collection of citizen science data, but it currently provides a repository for:

      1. Inherent and apparent optical property datasets and associated water constituent measurements;
      2. In-situ water constituent measurements for satellite validation.

Speaker Bio – Dr. Varley is the LIMNADES Database Manager.  He has a general background in environmental sciences, with a first class undergraduate degree in environmental chemistry. During his thesis he was introduced to the field of environmental radioactivity that would unwittingly form the basis of my career. His subsequent PhD in environmental radioactivity changed my focus more towards the physical/computational sciences and remote detection of radioactive sources. The objective of his PhD was to develop methods to process gamma-ray spectrometry data to estimate the activity and buried depth of radioactive sources. The data processing element relied heavily on Machine Learning techniques. The developed method was used to characterise radioactive contamination at sites contaminated with 226Ra and 137Cs.  His current research is dedicated to developing and implemented detection system for the Environmental Radioactivity Lab here at Stirling. This involves using gamma-ray spectrometry units on a number of platforms such as carbourne and handheld systems.  Another research area  is the use large volume detectors to estimate the risk posed by plough-induced soil erosion at archaeological sites. This work is a component of the larger European project called the CLIMA (Cultural Landscape risk Identification, Management and Assessment) project, which aims to protect ancient monuments and subsurface archaeological  structures.   


Title: Whatenvironmentalfactorsinfluencetheconcentrationoffecalindicatorbacteriain groundwater?InsightsfromUgandaandBangladesh

Presenter: Chloé Poulin, Aquaya

Date: October 29, 2020  2pm UTC:



Title: A Virtual Geostationary Ocean Color Sensor to Analyze the Coastal Optical Variability

Presenter: Marco Bracaglia , CNR

Date: September 17, 2020 2pm UTC

Abstract: in the coastal environment the optical properties can vary on temporal scales that are shorter than the near-polar orbiting satellite temporal resolution (~1 image per day), which does not allow capturing most of the coastal optical variability. The objective of this work is to fill the gap between the near-polar orbiting and geostationary sensor temporal resolutions, as the latter sensors provide multiple images of the same basin during the same day. To do that, a Level 3 hyper-temporal analysis-ready Ocean Color (OC) dataset, named Virtual Geostationary Ocean Color Sensor (VGOCS), has been created. This dataset contains the observations acquired over the North Adriatic Sea by the currently functioning near-polar orbiting sensors, allowing approaching the geostationary sensor temporal resolution. The problem in using data from different sensors is that they are characterized by different uncertainty sources that can introduce artifacts between different satellite images. Hence, the sensors have different spatial and spectral resolutions, their calibration procedures can have different accuracies, and their Level 2 data can be retrieved using different processing chains. Such differences were reduced here by adjusting the satellite data with a multi-linear regression algorithm that exploits the Fiducial Reference Measurements data stream of the AERONET-OC water-leaving radiance acquired at the Acqua Alta Oceanographic Tower, located in the Gulf of Venice. This work aims to prove the suitability of VGOCS in analyzing the coastal optical variability, presenting the improvement brought by the adjustment on the quality of the satellite data, the VGOCS spatial and temporal coverage, and the inter-sensor differences. Hence, the adjustment will strongly increase the agreement between the satellite and in situ data and between data from different near-polar orbiting OC imagers; moreover, the adjustment will make available data traditionally masked in the standard processing chains, increasing the VGOCS spatial and temporal coverage, fundamental to analyze the coastal optical variability. Finally, the fulfillment by VGOCS of the three conditions for a hyper-temporal dataset will be demonstrated in this work.

Biography: Dr. Marco Bracaglia graduated in Physics on 27/05/2016 at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. He attended a Ph.D. course in Environmental Phenomena and Risks at the Parthenope University of Naples and the CNR-ISMAR of Rome Tor Vergata. He completed the Ph.D. with the dissertation of its thesis “A Virtual Geostationary Ocean Colour Sensor to observe short term variations in particulate matter in the coastal environment” on 21/05/2020.  He is currently a research fellow at the CNR-ISMAR in Rome Tor Vergata and technical manager of the Ocean Colour Thematic Assembly Center (OC-TAC) in the framework of the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS). His scientific interests are Ocean Color, remote sensing, bio-optical dynamics in optically complex waters, data processing, calibration and validation of Ocean Color satellite data.

Video      and      Chatlog

Title: Spectral enhancements with contra-bands: A case study of the OLI/Landsat 8 orange contra-band and its application for inland water remote sensing.

Presenter: Alexander Castagna, Department of Biology, Ghent University

Date: June 18, 2020, 2pm UTC

Abstract: Recently, a new method was developed to extract additional spectral information from a set of overlapping wavebands (Castagna et al. 201820192020). This spectral enhancement technique was termed contra-band, and is based on the extraction of information that was measured, but is mixed with information from a broader spectral region. Therefore, it has potential to add independent information to the band set of specific sensors. The method is generic and can be analytical if waveband properties are optimal, or semi-analytical otherwise. We will explore this concept in view of available sensors, with focus on the semi-analytical contra-band possible for OLI/Landsat 8, that can provide independent information in the orange spectral region (590-635 nm) over turbid inland waters. The OLI orange contra-band represents the first global open dataset of high spatial resolution information in the orange spectral region. We will discuss performance analysis, new validation data from in situ hyperspectral networks, and applications related to detection cyanobacterial blooms and quantification of phycocyanin concentration at high spatial resolution.
Bio: Alexandre Castagna is a PhD candidate at the Biology Department of Gent University, Belgium, working both with multi and hyperspectral data for water quality estimation in small inland water bodies. He obtained his MSc. degree in a multidisciplinary context, linking land and atmospheric processes (dust emission and transport) to ocean biogeochemistry in the Southern Ocean. He also worked with coastal ecosystem dynamics, specifically the effect of wind driven water masses intrusion on primary production and tidal impact on phytoplankton diversity in small bays. He has an interest both in the physical and biological components of hydrology optics, including in situ spectroscopy methods, Monte Carlo simulation, IOP inversion and HAB detection/quantification.
Video      and       Chatlog 

Title: Observing Coastal Ocean Processes from Space at Hourly Frequency with GLIMR:  NASA’s 5th Earth Venture Instrument

Presenter: Dr. Joe Salisbury, University of New Hampshire

Date: May 21, 2020, 2pm UTC

Abstract: GLIMR is hyperspectral radiometer that will be launched in geostationary orbit to study coastal ecosystems that are under pressure from population growth and changing climate.  Our primary science centers on two questions: 1) How do physical processes that vary at timescales from hours to days impact the rates and fluxes of materials within and between aquatic coastal ecosystems? and 2) How do fluxes and rates within and between aquatic coastal ecosystems affect the formation, magnitude and trajectory of harmful algal blooms (HABS) and impact ecosystem and human health? To help address these questions, GLIMR will collect 141 bands of data in the visible to near infra-red (350-1020nm) with ~hourly coverage in our primary region of interest, the Gulf of Mexico.  This high-density 4-dimensional data stream, (U, V, time, hyperspectral) will require creative new combinations of in-water data and advanced numerical methodologies in order to maximize the science value. We will present an overview of the science, instrument capabilities and data processing, as well as ideas on how advanced in-water assets and processing solutions could benefit the GLIMR mission.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Salisbury’s interests focus on the biogeochemistry and ecology of coastal regions, particularly those influenced by riverine processes. He is presently working on two strands of research. The first seeks to characterize distributions of carbon dioxide, air-sea carbon exchange, productivity and acid stress in freshwater-influenced coastal regions. The second strand involves the use of data from a variety of space-borne sensors to characterize net community productivity and carbon exchanges in coastal waters. For these projects his team uses a variety of remotely sensed data including ocean color, sea surface temperature and microwave radiometry. He is currently the principal investigator of a NASA satellite mission called the Geostationary Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer, scheduled to launch in 2026.  This sensor will use ocean color to study coastal ecosystems.  He is also co-PI of the NASA scoping study, Arctic-COLORS which seeks to implement a series of campaigns to the coastal Arctic to explore land to ocean interactions. Our UNH Coastal Carbon Group maintains several autonomous data collecting assets in the Gulf of Maine and is active in cruise campaigns throughout the western Atlantic.

Video  Chatlog Publications (coming soon!)


Title: Arctic COLORS : Arctic-COastal Land Ocean inteRactionS

Presenters: Dr. Peter Hernes, University of California-Davis

Date: May 8, 2020, 2pm UTC/10am EDT (New York)

Abstract: Arctic-COLORS is a proposed NASA field campaign that is expected to start in 3-6 years and investigates the impact of changing terrestrial fluxes of materials on near-coastal ocean biogeochemistry in the study region from the Yukon River to the Mackenzie River. In preparation for Arctic-COLORS, NASA is funding preliminary projects to collect data to characterize the current state of the coastal Arctic that will be invaluable for measuring change when Arctic-COLORS comes online, and to test fundamental ideas about the transfer of riverine materials to the coastal zone that will help to shape the Arctic-COLORS science plan. This talk will primarily focus on one of those pre-Arctic-COLORS projects, in which we set out to 1) measure current conditions primarily in the Yukon River delta but also collected samples on the north slope of Alaska, 2) characterize the transformation of riverine materials from the head of tides through the delta and out to salinity, and 3) refine and develop algorithms for local Arctic water quality parameters and concentrations from remote sensing, with the ultimate goal of using those algorithms for hindcasting with existing remote sensing data. In addition to a multitude of optical measurements, our dataset also includes dissolved and particulate organic carbon, lignin, chlorophyll, salinity mixing experiments, microbial and photochemical oxidations experiments, and eventually high resolution mass spectrometry data. Understanding how river materials are transformed will allow Arctic-COLORS to take full advantage of long term datasets from programs like the Arctic Great Rivers Observatory.

Speaker Bio: Peter Hernes uses biomarkers (primarily lignin) in conjunction with several other bulk measurements to characterize sources, processes, and fates of organic matter in rivers out to the coastal ocean. In particular, he is interested in how river chemistry maps back to land use, landscape sources and processes, and constant change. He received his masters and PhD in chemical oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle and did postdoctoral work at the University of South Carolina in Columbia before landing at the University of California – Davis is 2002, where he is a Professor of Hydrology and Aqueous Geochemist.

Video (Webinar Starts at 23mins 30 secs into the recording) Chatlog

Title: Airborne drone-based monitoring of the water quality

Presenters: Dr. Liesbeth De Keukelaere and Mr. Robrecht Moelans, VITO

Date: March 26, 2020, 2pm UTC

Abstract:  Recent advances in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), or airborne drones, have created an additional monitoring platform that provides an opportunity to capture spatial, spectral and temporal information that could benefit a wide range of applications. This with a relative small investment, especially compared to the cost of manned airborne systems or satellite missions. However, the conversion of the raw data into physically meaningful values, like water-leaving reflectance, turbidity or chlorophyll concentrations is not so straightforward. This presentation will show the challenges faced when using airborne drone data over water surfaces through experiences from different field campaigns, organized in the framework of the MONOCLE H2020 research and innovation project.

Speaker Bios – Dr. De Keukelaere: A young researcher with a Master degree in Bio-Science Engineering, Liesbeth De Keukelaere’s focus is on soil, water and Earth Observation. During her first year after graduation, Liesbeth worked on spectral unmixing techniques to distinguish different tree species within one pixel. She then shifted her attention to water applications, investigating remote sensing’s potential for water quality monitoring in inland, coastal and transitional waters. In the summer of 2016 she was selected to participate with the IOCCG Summer Lecture Series: Frontiers in Ocean Optics and Ocean Colour Science, and in autumn 2016 she followed an introductory course on Aquaculture at Odisee Hogeschool (Belgium).  During her career she’s been involved in multiple projects including two FP7 projects – INFORM (Improved monitoring and forecasting of ecological status of European Inland waters by combining Future earth ObseRvation data and Models) and HIGHROC (High Spatial and Temporal Resolution Ocean Colour coastal water products and services) – Belspo funded projects including REMEDY (Remote Monitoring of tropical Ecosystem Dynamics) and DRONESED (Dronese-based Sediment Mapping for Dredging Operations) as well as the ESA PV-LAC project (Advanced Land, Aerosol and Coastal products for Proba-V).

Mr. Robrecht Moelans: Robrecht is working with VITO as R&D Professional in processing drone and satellite images for water & coastal applications. Before VITO, Robrecht worked as R&D Project Manager with G-tec in Liège, Belgium and as Operational Superintendent (expat) with dredging company Jan De Nul. He is holding a Master’s degree in Mining and Geotechnical Engineering from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Video     Chat Transcript      Nechad et al (2009) TSM methodology

Title: Satellite-based UNESCO World Water Quality Portal: Monitoring freshwater quality from space using Earth Observation 
Presenter: Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, Programme Specialist, Division of Water Sciences – Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP), UNESCO
Date:   January 9, 2020, 2pm UTC
Abstract:  Water quality information is essential for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation and monitoring. However, data on freshwater quality are scarce at the global, regional and national levels, due to the lack of monitoring networks and capacity. In particular, reliable data on water quality is scarce, or non-existent, in remote areas and developing countries. Innovative approaches such as using Earth Observation (EO) and satellite images can enhance global water quality data.
The webinar aims to demonstrate and enhance awareness on the use of EO for inland freshwater quality monitoring, by presenting the application of satellite-based UNESCO World Water Quality in demonstration basins in different regions of the world.
Under the International Initiative on Water Quality of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme, UNESCO has developed a pioneering satellite-based UNESCO World Water Quality Portal with the aim to enhance data and knowledge on freshwater water quality at the global level. The UNESCO Portal provides open access information on freshwater quality at scales from global to basin using remote sensing data (i.e, satellite images).
The UNESCO Portal provides data on five key indicators of the state of water quality: turbidity and sedimentation distribution, chlorophyll-a, Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB), organic absorption and surface temperature. These indicators also provide information on the impact of other sectors and land uses such as urban areas, fertilizer use in agriculture, climate change or dam and reservoir management. For example, tracking changes in turbidity (the degree to which light is backscattered by particles in the water) is useful when monitoring sediment plumes from dredging and dumping activities. Chlorophyll-a is a pigment found in phytoplankton cells, while the HAB indicator shows possible areas affected by harmful algae blooms formed by cyanobacteria containing phycocyanin. The UNESCO Portal uses satellite-derived optical data from Landsat and Sentinel-2 satellites, which are open access.
The UNESCO World Water Quality Portal addresses an urgent need to enhance the knowledge base and access to information in order to better understand the impacts of climate- and human-induced change on water security. It will facilitate science-based, informed decision-making for water management and support Member States’ efforts in implementing the SDG 6, as well as several other Goals and Targets that are linked directly to water quality and water pollution.
The UNESCO Portal allows everyone with open access to information on water quality in every part of the world and thus supports information and knowledge for all, leaving no one behind.
Speaker Bio: Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa  has a postdoctoral degree on Environment and Sustainable Development from United Nations University in Japan and a doctoral degree on Environmental Engineering from University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ in Italy. She also has a postgraduate diploma on International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy.

Sarantuyaa coordinates the UNESCO-IHP’s International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ) and leads IHP activities on water quality and wastewater. She has developed several UNESCO projects on emerging issues and innovative approaches to water quality such as: satellite-based water quality monitoring; emerging pollutants; nature-based solutions to water quality; and climate change and water quality. She has developed the concept of the satellite-based UNESCO World Water Quality Portal to enhance open access water quality data at the global level.

Between 2007 and 2015, Sarantuyaa was responsible for UNESCO-IHP’s urban water activities, implemented IHP projects on integrated urban water management, and coordinated the publication of UNESCO Urban Water Series, comprising eight major books. Sarantuyaa has published numerous research and policy publications (books, research journal papers, technical reports, policy reports, etc.) and has contributed as lead author of chapters in UNESCO-EOLLS Encyclopedia and United Nations World Water Development Reports.

Video (webinar starts at 3 minute mark) and Chat 

Title:  National Ecological Observatory Network: Open data for ecological research and monitoring from across the US

Presenters:  Battelle Ecology’s Bobby Hensley (Research Scientist, Aquatic Ecology) and Tristen Goulden (Lead Research Scientist, Remote Sensing)

Date: Nov. 21, 2pm UTC

Abstract:  The National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is an ecological observation facility, funded by US’s National Science Foundation. NEON collects and provides open data from 81 field sites across the United States that characterize and quantify how the nation’s ecosystems are changing. The observatory includes 81 field sites (47 terrestrial and 34 aquatic) located in different ecosystems across the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico). Data collection methods are standardized across sites and include automated instrument measurements, observational field sampling, and airborne remote sensing surveys. This webinar will provide an introduction to NEON and the over 175 data products with an emphasis on the aquatics and remote sensing data and infrastructure. More about the NEON program can be found at

Presenter Bios:
Bobby Hensley, NEON Research Scientist – Aquatic Ecology
Bobby is an aquatic biogeochemist on the Aquatic Instruments science team.  He has a background in using in-situ sensors to understand controls on stream metabolism and nutrient spiraling.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

Tristan Goulden, NEON Lead Research Scientist – Remote Sensing
Tristan is a remote sensing scientist with NEON specializing in LiDAR. He also co-lead NEON’s Remote Sensing Integrated Product Team which focusses on developing algorithms and associated documentation for all of NEON’s remote sensing data products. His past research focus has been on characterizing uncertainty in LiDAR observations/processing and propagating the uncertainty into downstream data products. His past experience in LiDAR has included all aspects of the LIDAR workflow including; mission planning, airborne operations, processing of raw data, and development of higher level data products.

Aquatic Ecology Slides (Coming Soon) Remote Sensing Slides.    Chat      Video (NOTE:webinar starts at 22 minute mark)

Title: CyAN App
Date: 24 July 2019, 18:00UTC

This webinar Early Detection of Algal Blooms in the US Freshwater Systems: Using the CyAN Mobile App will be presented by Dr. Blake Schaeffer, Dr. Robyn Conmy, and other scientists from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Download the CyAN mobile app.  SlidesRecording.

Title: The Online Cyanobacteria Warning and Information Service from Satellite Remote Sensing  

Date: 4 April 2019, 14:00 UTC  

This webinar was presented by Dr. Mark Matthews, founder and Director of CyanoLakes(Pty) Ltd, a commercial earth observation service provider.  Dr. Matthews specialised in bio-optical remote sensing of cyanobacteria blooms and their detection from space. He graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2014 with a thesis entitled “distinguishing cyanobacteria from algae using bio-optical remote sensing”. He has published several papers in internationally recognised journals in the field, and is the author of the chapter on bio-optical modelling of chlorophyll-a in the textbook “Bio-optical modelling and remote sensing of inland waters”. Since graduating he has led several projects funded by the Water Research Commission in South Africa and the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. He founded CyanoLakes (Pty) Ltd in 2015 after winning the Copernicus Masters Ideas Challenge for best business idea for earth observation data. As the director of CyanoLakes (Pty) Ltd he is passionate about bringing the benefits of earth observation innovations to governmental water and health authorities, utilities and industry around the world through CyanoLakes’s online public health information service offering.

Abstract: At CyanoLakes we help water utilities and government agencies monitor toxin producing cyanobacteria blooms in their source waters, helping them use their limited resources more effectively and become more informed and responsive. During this talk we will discover how water utilities and government authorities can use CyanoLakes paid services to enhance and supplement their ongoing monitoring programs.

Recording: Video Q&A Chatfile

Title: Why a new generation of EO sensors for water quality needs a new generation of in situ validation instruments?
Date: 31 January 2019, 14:00 UTC
This webinar will be presented by Dr. Marnix Laanen, co-founder and co-owner of Water Insight, an SME dedicated to water quality remote sensing using both image data and close sensing in situ spectrometers based in Wageningen, The Netherlands. He has a PhD. in Earth and Life Sciences from the Vrije Universteit of Amsterdam specialising in the retrieval of Coloured Dissolved Organic Matter from close sensing spectra validated by laboratory in situ sampling. Within Water Insight Marnix is involved in various H2020 projects and in the optical instrument development (both WISP-3 and WISPstation).
Abstract:  With the launch of the Sentinel 2 and 3 satellites a new generation of EO sensors is commissioned. However, the use of the current in situ validation instruments for these new sensors might not suffice for a number of reasons, especially for water quality retrieval. The atmospheric correction methods for S2 and S3 over surface water are still in development and is troublesome for S2 (as having a band setting primarily for land applications). In this webinar we will explore the requirements for a new generation of in situ optical instruments for S2 and S3 sensor validation.

Recording:         Video       Q&A Chatfile

GEMS/Water: Evolving a Global Long-term Water Quality Data Repository
27 September 2018
This webinar, coauthored by Philipp Saile (Hydrologist, Coordinator), was presented by Dmytro Lisniak (Hydrologist, Data Analyst) of the GEMS/Water Data Centre, operated by the International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (ICWRGC), German Federal Institute of Hydrology.
 Abstract: The Global Environment Monitoring System for freshwater (GEMS/WATER) was the first programme of its kind to address global issues of water quality through a network of monitoring stations in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and groundwater on a global scale. Technical cooperation with developing countries was the main focus of GEMS/WATER during its first phase. The program has contributed to the establishment and expansion of national water quality monitoring systems in many countries. Current engagements focus on increasing the availability and promoting the shared access to quality assured data that serves as a base for evidence informed decision making, the facilitation of quality assessments to inform policy makers and the support of work on indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals. In order to provide the information and knowledge base for the development and implementation of policies and sustainable management of freshwater ecosystems worldwide, the GEMS/WATER programme is evolving into an open, collaborative water quality data, information and knowledge hub.
Recording: video     audio     Q&A chatfile


Special Horizon2020 Monocle/GEO AquaWatch co-hosted webinar!

Sustainability of Future Environmental Observation Networks

24 October 2018 

For this seminar, invited speakers/panellists were MONOCLE Expert Advisory Board members Debbie Chapman (University College Cork and UN Environment GEMS/Water), Henrik Steen Andersen (European Environment Agency) and Steve Greb (GEO AquaWatch,University of Wisconsin-Madison) and MONOCLE contributors, Kathrin Poser (Water Insight,WP5 lead) and Oliver Clements (PML).

Abstract: The third MONOCLE webinar in the series addresses sustainability of environmental monitoring networks, in particular hybrid services of in situ and satellite observation networks. How do we safeguard long-term measurement series while sensor technology continues to improve? How should data collection be funded to be sustainable? How should a multi-scale observation network feed into regional and global reporting strategies?

An overview on current water quality monitoring policy and challenges will be presented, including discussion of how MONOCLE research may contribute to reaching the European and global monitoring goals.

Recording: Video

CyanoAlert – Space based cyanobacteria information & services
 27 November 2018
 This webinar will be presented by Petra Philipson, PhD in aquatic remote
 sensing and remote sensing consultant since 2003. Co-founder, vice manager
 and consultant at Brockmann Geomatics since 2011, with personal interest and
 focus on aquatic national, European and global assignments and research and
 development projects.
 Abstract: CyanoAlert is a three-year project funded by the European Commission ending in spring 2020 ( The project aims to provide customers in government, commercial and environmental sectors with up-to-date, accurate and relevant information on the health risks posed by cyanobacteria blooms in water bodies through utilising Copernicus Satellite Earth Observation data. The service will offer weekly updates, forecasts, and near real-time information on cyanobacteria blooms and eutrophication (chlorophyll-a) through its service portal and mobile application. The webinar is a presentation of on-going project activities and results achieved so far.

Recording: Video  Audio Chat


2013-15 GEO Inland and Coastal Water Quality Working Group Webinar Series

Community-Based Water Monitoring and Watershed Stewardship – the Global Water Watch Experience

Date: 21 May 2015

This webinar was presented by Dr. Bill Deutsch, USA


Citizen volunteer water monitoring is one of the most popular and effective forms of citizen science, and there is a growing interest worldwide for community groups to collect scientifically valid data for the protection and restoration of their surface water and watersheds. Global Water Watch (GWW) began in the early 1990s in response to interests by community groups in several countries to become personally involved in water issues. This webinar will describe the origins and approaches of GWW in the US, Asia, Latin America and Africa and how these experiences led to the creation of a GWW model for community-based water monitoring and watershed stewardship. Case studies, data-to-action strategies, success stories and challenges will be presented.

Presenter bio:

Dr. Bill Deutsch is a Research Fellow, Emeritus in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences at Auburn University (Alabama, USA). He has undergraduate degrees in Zoology and Anthropology, a Master’s degree in Biology and a Ph.D. in Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries. Bill directed the Alabama Water Watch and Global Water Watch programs for 20 years and continues his involvement with these programs, and two nonprofit organizations related to them, in his retirement. He has made about 100 international trips to more than a dozen countries for water-related projects, especially related to citizen science and community responses to watershed issues.

Webinar recording and presentation

Opening up a global water resources re-analysis dataset: the eartH2Observe tier-1 dataset and portal

19 March 2015

This webinar was presented by Jaap Schellekens, NL

E2O results as maps and graphs


Within four years the FP7 project eartH2Observe aims to develop a global water resources re-analysis dataset based on the WFDEI forcing dataset, improved with earth observations and extended with output from hydrological and land surface models that should be off value for multi-scale water resources assessments and research projects.

The Tier-1 dataset presented in the webinar consists of a large number of earth observation datasets, a first run of a total of nine global hydrological and land surface models for the period 1979 – 2012 and the WFDEI forcing dataset. All model output has been reprocessed to 0.5×0.5 degree resolution but higher resolution data from some models is also available. The current dataset serves as a state of the art in current global hydrological modelling and as benchmark for further improvements in the coming years.

Within eartH2Observe we promote the use of the newly available data at an early stage, feedback and comments will enable the further improvement of the dataset. All data is made available openly through a water cycle integrator portal, including visualisation, analysis and collaboration tools, and at a lower level via the protocols of the open geospatial consortium such as OPeNDAP, WCS and WMS via In the webinar the dataset will be presented and access to the data demonstrated using freely available tools. Download eartH2Observe leaflet here.

Presenter bio:

Since 2001 Dr. Jaap Schellekens has been working for Deltares where he is involved in projects and research related to hydrological modelling, watershed management and flood forecasting.  Dr. Schellekens has extensive experience in (forest) hydrology, the hydrological implications of land-use and climate change, hydrological modelling (with special reference to flood forecasting) and hydrometeorological measurement techniques. In addition, Dr. Schellekens has lead a number of large projects related to (probabilistic) flood forecasting and has advised a number of leading meteorological agencies on the implementation of the Delft-FEWS flood forecasting system. Currently he coordinates the eartH2Observe FP7 EU project on global Earth Observation for Integrated Water Resource Assessment. His work has been published in leading scientific journals.

Webinar recording and presentation

Diversity-2 results

29 January 2015

This webinar was presented by Daniel Odermatt, CH

diversity-2 results on maps


We report on the final Diversity II water quality product archive, covering more than 300 lakes worldwide, and providing validation for more than 50 lakes. The 2002-2012 MERIS full-resolution (FR) data used as primary input have recently undergone a first consistent re-calibration, referred to as bulk reprocessing, which corresponds to the 3rd reprocessing of MERIS reduced resolution data. Differences to the previously available MERIS FR archive are discussed in terms of matchup comparisons as well as final L3 products. A summary of several exemplary case studies carried out by product users is given, highlighting the potential of the datasets as indicators for biodiversity and other applications.


Dr. Daniel Odermatt is an expert for spaceborne inland water quality retrieval and managing director of Odermatt & Brockmann GmbH in Zurich, Switzerland. He implemented the scientific design of the Diversity II water quality processing chain during a post-doctoral Marie Curie IAPP employment at Brockmann Consult GmbH in Geesthacht, Germany. Half a year ago he founded an independent joint venture with Carsten Brockmann to continue the successful collaboration in Diversity II and other projects. His ambitions are to contrast and structure the exorbitance of study-specific algorithms for optically complex waters developed in recent years, to advance suitable methods to operational applications, to improve the robustness of these applications and to foster their use in environmental monitoring programs and other surveys.

Webinar recording and presentation

Re-calibration of the MPH algorithm: towards a standard operational product for chl-a and cyanobacteria detection for inland/near-coastal waters

20 November 2014

This webinar was presented by Dr. Mark W. Matthews (Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7701, Cape Town, South Africa)

cyanobacteria bloom map

Abstract: The talk provided an overview of the maximum peak height algorithm, providing some demonstration and details on new advancements related to the recently released plugin for BEAM (including adjacency effect detection). Results of the validation of the MPH algorithm across a wide range of water types performed in the ESA Diversity II project were presented (courtesy Dr. Daniel Odermatt). The talk discussed the re-calibration exercise for the MPH algorithm, in preparation for a publication. Initial results and approaches were presented from the re-calibration.

Bio: Dr. Mark Matthews is an earth observation scientist specialising in the detection of cyanobacteria from space. He graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2014, and has published 8 first author publications (two monographs) in high impact journals, and received several awards and scholarships. He received an innovation award in 2012 from the CSIR for operational monitoring of cyanobacteria and eutrophication in South African inland waters as well as a 2014 Copernicus Masters Ideas Challenge award. His maximum peak height algorithm has been developed as a plugin for the BEAM software. He has worked as a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, and as a consultant for the CSIR and South African National Space Agency. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cape Town. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, and fishing in his spare time.

Webinar recording (first 5 minutes are missing) and presentation

INFORM Project

25th September 2014

This webinar was presented by Ils Reusen and Els Knaeps (VITO)


INFORM is a 4-year FP7-SPACE collaborative project (2014-2017) which aims to develop novel and improved user-driven products for inland water quality (WQ) monitoring by using innovative remote sensing methods coupled with biogeochemical models which fully exploits the improved spectral, spatial and temporal capabilities of upcoming Earth Observation (EO) missions (Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3, EnMAP and PRISMA).

Validated INFORM EO-model products will form a basis for future Copernicus products to assess e.g. the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). INFORM developments will lead to recommendations for future E0 missions taking into account requirements for inland water quality monitoring.

Webinar recording and presentation

Satellite Remote Sensing for Monitoring and Assessment

Date : 12th June 2014

Time: 2 pm UTC

Presenter: Blake Schaeffer (EPA)

Blake Schaeffer earned his PhD in Marine Science from North Carolina State University studying harmful algal bloom ecology. He then served in two post-doctorate positions. The first was a NASA funded project with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to investigate the impacts of El Nino/La Nina cycles on ecosystem biodiversity in Galapagos, Ecuador.The second post-doctorate was with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency quantifying optical properties related to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. He is currently an Assistant Laboratory Directory with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Exposure Research Laboratory. His research focus is on the use of remote sensing technology to monitor water quality. Interests broadly cover deriving water quality parameters in coasts, estuaries, and lakes using Landsat, SeaWiFS, MODIS, MERIS, VIIRS, HICO, and in the future Sentinel-3 and PACE. His interests generally include integrating remote sensing technologies into decision support frameworks. For example, he developed a satellite remote sensing approach for coastal numeric nutrient criteria. His new research effort focuses on detecting cyanobacteria blooms and disseminating the satellite information via a user friendly mobile device application.


Remote sensing technology has the potential to enhance the engagement of communities and managers in the implementation and performance of best management practices. This presentation will use examples from U.S. numeric criteria development and state water quality monitoring programs to illustrate ways remote sensing can be used to advance management practices. In the first example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that numeric criteria were necessary to protect Florida’s coastal waters from the impacts of anthropogenic nutrients. Florida’s coastal waters have not been monitored comprehensively via field sampling therefore existing monitoring data was insufficient to support numeric criteria development. However, satellite remote sensing had the potential to provide more extensive data. Spatial and temporal measures of chlorophyll-a derived from SeaWiFS, MODIS, and MERIS were resolved across Florida’s coastal waters and provided a quantitative baseline that could be used to protect against long-term changes in chlorophyll-a resulting from anthropogenic nutrients.

Success from the coastal criteria approach has focused new efforts on the validation of an “off-the-shelf” algorithm to identify cyanobacterial blooms, potentially for national application. In this study, available in situ cyanobacterial cell count data from Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts were compared with derived cyanobacterial cell count estimates from MERIS. A secondary goal of this project was to develop a stakeholder tool with the capability to monitor cyanobacteria blooms near real-time, and potentially provide predictive capability. Crowd sourcing was selected as a unique opportunity to pool the problem solving skills of >500,000 people worldwide to develop these capabilities. This combined use of satellite technology with crowd sourcing provided a sophisticated stakeholder tool that may allow for more holistic management to reduce exposure risk to the public.

Webinar recording and presentation

GLTC (Global Lake Temperature Collaboration)

  16 December 2013


This presentation was given by John Lenters, Senior Scientist with LimnoTech, in Ann Arbor, Michigan


The Global Lake Temperature Collaboration (GLTC) began in the fall of 2010 to assemble an international group of investigators with interest in and access to global lake temperature records (both in situ and satellite-based). The GLTC group has since grown to over 50 investigators, and a workshop was held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in June of 2012 to bring together all international project participants in a common location to share data, examine patterns and trends, and compile a global lake temperature database. Additional lakes have been added to the database since the 2012 workshop, and the data have been undergoingdetailed statistical analysis. Results will soon be available to data providers and project investigators, with plans for publication shortly afterwards.


Webinar recording

NETLAKE (Networking Lake Observatories in Europe)


  24th October 2013



This presentation was given by Eleanor Jennings, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland


The over-arching objective of NETLAKE is to establish a network of scientists, technologists, managers and stakeholders focused on the development and application of cutting-edge sensor technology for the protection of European lakes and reservoirs. Deliverables will include a meta-database of instrumented sites, case studies on management-relevant topics, data analysis tools, and a citizen science programme to involve local communities in the protection of water resources. The key deliverable, however, will be the establishment of the NETLAKE network itself, bridging communication gaps between researchers, policy makers and managers, and between scientists and local communities.


Webinar recording

GLEON (Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network)
  13 September 2013


This presentation was given by Paul Hanson, University of Wisconsin, USA


Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) is an international grass-roots, voluntary network of researchers, educators, and community groups interested in making and utilizing time series of high-frequency observations made on and in lakes and reservoirs all over the world. GLEON includes more than 60 lakes and more than 260 individual members from 34 countries on six continents (as of April 2011). The goal is to understand, predict, and communicate the impact of natural and anthropogenic influences on lake and reservoir ecosystems. The researchers include limnologists, ecologists, information technology experts, and engineers who have a common objective of building and growing a scalable, persistent network of lake ecology observatories; developing new theoretical models based on the more extensive spatial and temporal scales of data; integrating new technologies to utilize the data; educating a new generation of researchers; and engaging the public.

Webinar recording


GLaSS (Global Lakes Sentinel Services)
  28th June 2013


This presentation was given by Steef Peters, Water Insight, Netherlands


The GLaSS project has multiple objectives including preparing for the use and uptake of global Sentinel 2 and Sentinel 3 products in the context of lakes and reservoirsand the relationship between terrestrial water, nutrients, sediment and pollutions influxes and lake water quality, setting up prototype enhanced service infrastructures to ingest and process the expected very large quantities of data coming from Sentinel 2 and 3, and developing demonstration cases suitable and user-friendly data-mining and searching techniques for various users to access the data and results.


Webinar recording


GloboLakes (Global Observatory of Lake Responses to Environmental Change)
  26th April 2013


This presentation was given by Andrew Tyler and Peter Hunter, University of Stirling, UK


GloboLakes is a five year research programme investigating the state of lakes and their response to climatic and other environmental drivers of change at a global scale through the realisation of a near-real time satellite based observatory with archive data processing to produce a 20-year time series, of observed ecological parameters and lake temperature supported by linked auxiliary data on catchment land-use and meteorological forcing.


Webinar recording


ESA Diversity II-Inland Lakes (by Carsten Brockmann)
  22 February 2013


This presentation was given by Carsten Brockmann & Daniel Odermatt, Brockman Consult (preceded by a short GEO introduction by Steven Greb).


The ultimate goal of the Diversity II Project is to support the implementation of the new 2011-2020 biodiversity strategic plan of the Convention of Biological Diversity, and more specifically, to contribute to the assessment and monitoring of the Aichi 2020 Biodiversity Targets of the CBD. In order to meet this goal, the specific Objectives of the Diversity II Project are to provide for selected key parameters, status maps, associated change maps, status indicators and trend indicators. These key parameters for inland waters are availability of freshwater and quality of freshwater, reflected in its water constituents such as chlorophyll-a and/ or suspended matter concentration, as well as by its temperature. The products shall be provided on a global scale by producing results for at least 300 large perennial inland waters and covering a time range from 2002 to 2012.


Webinar recording