The Sensor Intercomparison and Merger for Biological and Interdisciplinary Oceanic Studies (SIMBIOS) program was initiated by NASA for monitoring the bio-optical properties of the global ocean through ocean color remote sensing from space. The science objectives
of this initiative are:

  • Determine spatial and temporal error fields for the biological and geophysical data products from the various ocean color missions.
  • Collect optical and biochemical data in oceanic and coastal regions, including a cooperative international bio-optical monitoring program in the Gulf of California.
  • Develop and apply new algorithms for the retrieval of productivity and other biogeochemical parameters from the remotely sensed radiance via the IOP.
  • Study the spatial and temporal variability of bio-optical parameters in the Gulf of California.

The main goal of the SIMBIOS Project is to ensure that the radiometric data from each ocean color satellite sensor are well calibrated as well as insuring that the derived products are accurately validated. A second objective of the Project is to investigate new and novel methods for merging the data from the various ocean color satellites in order increase the spatial and spectral coverage of the oceans. In 1995, the International Ocean Colour-Coordinating Group (IOCCG) was formed to undertake the organization of an international SIMBIOS program.

The NASA program consists of the SIMBIOS Science Team and the SIMBIOS Project Office. Besides providing administrative and contract support for the science team, the SIMBIOS Project Office is scoped to support four primary activities: 1) data product validation, 2) sensor calibration, 3) data merger algorithm evaluation, and 4) satellite data processing. The SIMBIOS Science Team members are involved in radiometric and chlorophyll-a validation, and the development of appropriate methods for combining radiometric and derived bio-optical products from sensors with different viewing geometries, resolutions (spatial, temporal, and spectral), and other radiometric characteristics.


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Oregon State University
College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences
Environmental Optics - 1999