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FRM4SOC: Fiducial Reference Measurements for Satellite Ocean Colour

Sentinel 3a satellite. Image courtesy of European Space Agency, ESA

Completed project

Project start: July 2016  |  Project end: June 2018
Funder: European Space Agency, ESA
Principal Investigator: Dr Gavin H. Tilstone
Other participants from PML: Dr Robert Brewin

The FRM4SOC project focuses on providing high quality reference measurements to validate Sentinel satellite data using a range of different optical sensors under both laboratory and field conditions. In this project the scientists across the International community, will concentrate on ensuring that the optical sensors used to validate Sentinel satellite data are of the highest quality using rigorous calibration procedures and protocols to ensure that these optical instruments meet quality standards.

The project is working towards the data being classed as FRM (Fiducial Reference Measurements) which certifies that the measurements meet required conditions to ensure quality and confidence in the resulting data. This will ensure that all sensors meet the same high quality standards necessary for assessing the accuracy of the Sentinel satellite data.

PML will play a lead role in comparing the sensors in the ocean on fixed platforms and on-board the 27th AMT research cruise in 2017.

Top image: Courtesy of ESA.


The images received by the Sentinels are vital for PML earth observation research as they can help scientists measure the number and type of plankton in the ocean which is crucial for understanding how the ocean is changing. These plankton form the base of the food-web upon which all life in the ocean is dependent. Plankton are also important for maintaining the balance of gases in our atmosphere and sustaining life on Earth. This project will help to ensure the quality of the data from these Sentinel satellites.

For further information please see the FRM4SOC, European Space Agency (ESA) and Copernicus websites.