The “Colours of the continental waters SEC” Scientific Expertise Centre brings together teams from GET, IGEGeosciences Rennes and UMR Epoc that work on the concentration of suspended matter and concentration of chlorophyll a for the surface waters of rivers, lakes and estuaries.

The users of these data are the HYBAM and AMMA-CATCH, the Magest Observation Network, the Rhone Basin Long Term Environmental Research Observatory, the Rhone Sediment Observatory, the French Guiana Water Office , the Brazil Water Agency, the Asian Water Research Centre and the National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru.

The product resulting from the Colours of the continental waters SEC is updated with a frequency of one to ten days. With a scale ranging from 10 m to 500 m, it covers different sites in France (AFB support) and in the South (IRD partnership) in South America, West Africa and South-East Asia.

Sites covered by the SEC’s products

Three indicators of water quality in rivers and lakes

The product developed by the SEC proposes 3 indicators of water quality in rivers and lakes:

  • Suspended Matter
  • Chlorophyll-a Concentration
  • Water Transparency
Suspended Matter Product for the Niger River in Niamey

The data used are high resolution (Landsat 8, Sentinel-2, Spot-5 Take-5, Venμs) and medium resolution (MERIS EN, Sentinel-3) data.


  • 2015: pre-operational demonstrator  (Brazil Water Agency)
  • 2015 -2017: monitoring of five sites in France and 10 abroad (South America, Africa and Asia)
  • 2017 – 2018: testing and validation of new regional algorithms
  • 2018 – 2019: transmission and adaptation of the V1 chain.
  • 2019 : finalization of the V2 chain
  • 2020: dissemination
Schematic diagram of the treatment chain (A. Andral. CNES)
Schematic diagram of the treatment chain (A. Andral. CNES)