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A new merged dataset of global ocean chlorophyll a concentration with higher spatial and temporal coverage

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Abstract

Understanding the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle and its response to environmental change requires a high spatio-temporal resolution of observation. Merging ocean color data from multiple sources is an effective way to alleviate the limitation of individual ocean color sensors (e.g., swath width and gaps, cloudy or rainy weather, and sun glint) and to improve the temporal and spatial coverage. Since the missions of Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) and Medium-spectral Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) ended on December 11, 2010 and May 9, 2012, respectively, the number of available ocean color sensors has declined, reducing the benefits of the merged ocean color data with respect to the spatial and temporal coverage. In present work, Medium Resolution Spectral Imager (MERSI)/FY-3 of China is added in merged processing and a new dataset of global ocean chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentration (2000–2015) is generated from the remote sensing reflectance (Rrs (λ)) observations of MERIS, Moderate-resolution imaging spectra-radiometer (MODIS)-AQUA, Visible infrared Imaging Radiometer (VIIRS) and MERSI. These data resources are first merged into unified remote sensing reflectance data, and then Chl a concentration data are inversed using the combined Chl a algorithm of color index-based algorithm (CIA) and OC3. The merged data products show major improvements in spatial and temporal coverage from the addition of MERSI. The average daily coverage of merged products is approximately 24% of the global ocean and increases by approximately 9% when MERSI data are added in the merging process. Sampling frequency (temporal coverage) is greatly improved by combining MERSI data, with the median sampling frequency increasing from 15.6% (57 d/a) to 29.9% (109 d/a). The merged Chl a products herein were validated by in situ measurements and comparing them with the merged products using the same approach except for omitting MERSI and GlobColour and MEaSUREs merged data. Correlation and relative error between the new merged Chl a products and in situ observation are stable relative to the results of the merged products without the addition of MERSI. Time series of the Chl a concentration anomalies are similar to the merged products without adding MERSI and single sensors. The new merged products agree within approximately 10% of the merged Chl a product from GlobColour and MEaSUREs.

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Acknowledgements

The SeaWiFS, MODIS and VIIRS data were available courtesy of NASA, and MERIS data were provided by the ESA. The authors also thank the National Satellite Meteorological Center of the China Meteorological Administration for the FY-3 MERSI data.

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Correspondence to Yanfang Xiao.

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Foundation item: The National Key R & D Program of China under contract No. 2016YFA0600102; the National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract Nos 41506203, 41476159, 41506204, 41606197, 41471303 and 41706209; the Cooperation Project of FIO and KOIST under contract No. PI-2017-03.

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Xiao, Y., Zhang, J., Cui, T. et al. A new merged dataset of global ocean chlorophyll a concentration with higher spatial and temporal coverage. Acta Oceanol. Sin. 37, 118–130 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13131-018-1249-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13131-018-1249-6

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