The UK Lakes Observatory (UKLO) is a prototype operational service providing information on water quality for over 900 water bodies in the UK from satellite observations.

The service currently uses data from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2A/B satellites to produce weekly aggregated estimates of the phytoplankton chlorophyll-a concentration at a 20 m pixel resolution. The data are processed using an innovative processing chain which has been developed through several years of research at the University of Stirling.

The processing chain uses a state-of-the-art approach for the atmospheric correction of the satellite data and combines this with an ensemble of algorithms for the estimation of chlorophyll-a which are implemented dynamically depending on the optical characteristics of the lake under observations. This approach has been shown to significantly improve the accuracy of chlorophyll-a estimation over a large and diverse population of lakes.

The algorithms used to estimate chlorophyll-a have been calibrated and validated using standard measurements of chlorophyll obtained from routine monitoring programmes undertaken by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Environment Agency and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

The research behind the development of the UKLO has been funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.

You can access the UKLO here.

Learn more about the UKLO by watching this short video

Related publications

Pahlevan, N., Mangin, A., Balasubramanian, S.V., Smith, B., Alikas, K., Arai, K., Barbosa, C., Belanger, S., Binding, C., Bresciani, M., Giardino, C., Gurlin, D., Fan, Y., Harmel, T., Hunter, P., Ishikaza, J., Kratzer, S., Lehmann, M.K., Ligi, M., Ma, R., Martin-Lauzer, F.-R., Olmanson, L., Oppelt, N., Pan, Y., Peters, S., Reynaud, N., de Carvalho, L.A.S., Simis, S., Spyrakos, E., Steinmetz, F., Stelzer, K., Sterckx, S., Tormos, T., Tyler, A., Vanhellemont, Q., & Warren, M. (2021). ACIX-Aqua: A global assessment of atmospheric correction methods for Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 over lakes, rivers, and coastal waters. Remote Sensing of Environment, 258.

Neil, C., Spyrakos, E., Hunter, P.D., & Tyler, A.N. (2019). A global approach for chlorophyll-a retrieval across optically complex inland waters based on optical water types. Remote Sensing of Environment, 229, 159-178.

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