Assessing the effect of tandem phase Sentinel-3 OLCI Sensor uncertainty on the estimation of potential ocean chlorophyll-a trends

Hammond, Matthew L. ORCID:; Henson, Stephanie A. ORCID:; Lamquin, Nicolas; Clerc, Sébastien; Donlon, Craig. 2020 Assessing the effect of tandem phase Sentinel-3 OLCI Sensor uncertainty on the estimation of potential ocean chlorophyll-a trends. Remote Sensing, 12 (16), 2522.

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The Sentinel-3 tandem project represents the first time that two ocean colour satellites have been flown in the same orbit with minimal temporal separation (~30 s), thus allowing them to have virtually identical views of the ocean. This offers an opportunity for understanding how differences in individual sensor uncertainty can affect conclusions drawn from the data. Here, we specifically focus on trend estimation. Observational chlorophyll-a uncertainty is assessed from the Sentinel-3A Ocean and Land Colour Imager (OLCI-A) and Sentinel-3B OLCI (OLCI-B) sensors using a bootstrapping approach. Realistic trends are then imposed on a synthetic chlorophyll-a time series to understand how sensor uncertainty could affect potential long-term trends in Sentinel-3 OLCI data. We find that OLCI-A and OLCI-B both show very similar trends, with the OLCI-B trend estimates tending to have a slightly wider distribution, although not statistically different from the OLCI-A distribution. The spatial pattern of trend estimates is also assessed, showing that the probability distributions of trend estimates in OLCI-A and OLCI-B are most similar in open ocean regions, and least similar in coastal regions and at high northern latitudes. This analysis shows that the two sensors should provide consistent trends between the two satellites, provided future ageing is well quantified and mitigated. The Sentinel-3 programme offers a strong baseline for estimating long-term chlorophyll-a trends by offering a series of satellites (starting with Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B) that use the same sensor design, reducing potential issues with cross-calibration between sensors. This analysis contributes an important understanding of the reliability of the two current Sentinel-3 OLCI sensors for future studies of climate change driven chlorophyll-a trends.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2072-4292
Date made live: 10 Nov 2020 08:49 +0 (UTC)

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