Recent GEO AquaWatch Webinars

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

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