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       Project overview  

     The Black Sea receives drainage from almost one-third of the continental Europe (five times its own surface) which includes significant portions of 17 countries, 13 capital cities and some 160 million people.  The Black Sea is virtually isolated and hence a vulnerable water basin with 87% of its volume affected by anoxia. Of all the basins of the world ocean, the environmental degradation in the Black Sea is the most severe.   The  monitoring  of  trophic  and  geochemical  status  of  marine  waters  can  rely  on satellite  ocean  color  data.  In  fact  such  a  technology  allows  for  the  determination  at synoptic  scale  of  water  quality  indicators  like:  chlorophyll  a  concentration  (and potentially   of   accessory   pigments)   used   as   a   proxy   for   phytoplankton   biomass; concentration of total suspended matter and colored dissolved organic matter through its absorption properties. Current limitation in the operational use of satellite ocean color data in the Black Sea and in other marginal seas is the lack of regional bio-optical algorithms linking the satellite signal to the specific water quality indicators.  In  fact  operational  satellite products generally rely on algorithms developed for global applications which generally are  the  source  of  large  uncertainties  in  coastal  areas. 

     The main aim of the project is to compile a comprehensive dataset of bio-optical data from different regions of the Black Sea. The dataset will be used to develop algorithms and models for the determination of optically significant seawater constituents acquired by remote sensing. The properties required for these algorithms and models include water radiance, reflectance, diffuse attenuation coefficient, absorption, scattering and back-scattering coefficients. Additional parameters needed to develop the algorithms and models are the concentrations of specific constituents suspended in seawater such as pigments. The data will be gathered during two major cruises that are planned to cover the western and eastern Black Sea regions.