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Remote sensing

Remote sensing of ocean colour for marine water quality is a key advanced monitoring technologies being incorporated in the eReefs portfolio. Satellite remote sensing is the only observational technique able to deliver broad area coverage of the reef and lagoon system on a near daily basis (cloud cover permitting), providing snapshots of the spatial variation in water optical properties and concentrations of constituents. The primary use of remote sensing data is for monitoring water conditions, but it is also useful data for constraining hydrodynamic models.

The Bureau's Marine Water Quality Dashboard is built upon the satellite remote sensing data processing system developed by CSIRO.
The Bureau’s Marine Water Quality Dashboard is built upon the satellite data processing system developed by CSIRO.

CSIRO has been researching and developing techniques for applying remote sensing in the conditions peculiar to the GBR over the past decade. The eReefs project is providing the opportunity and resources to transition the CSIRO experimental algorithms from a development platform into a research-production environment, and to routinely link the remote sensing to the modelling. The satellite data production system developed by CSIRO is run operationally by the Bureau of Meteorology to support their Marine Water Quality Dashboard (right). Remote sensing is thus an exemplar of the transition of research into operations, demonstrates the data interoperability concept underpinning the eReefs information platform, and is piloting the larger vision: laying the foundations for future coastal information systems in Australia.

Over 2014 and 2015, the remote sensing system has been extended to utilise a new series of satellite sensors, and to better represent the range of water types found in the GBR.  The pages in this section provide further information on the components of the remote sensing system and how they deliver enhanced observations to inform reef management.