Dr David McKee




Personal statement

The oceans play a hugely important role in the global carbon cycle and in energy transport mechanisms that influence world climate. Monitoring oceans is difficult due to the vast areas involved, the harsh environmental conditions and the rapid temporal variability of marine biogeochemical systems. Optical sensors can provide information about biological and mineral particles and dissolved substances. The technology is particularly suitable as optical sensors can be deployed on a variety of platforms, from satellites and aircraft to in situ moorings and underwater vehicles. David’s research is currently focused on improving the quality of products obtained from ocean colour remote sensing signals and in situ optical measurements of absorption, scattering and fluorescence. He is also interested in development of new platforms for optical instruments in oceanography such as micro-satellites for Earth observation and in situ profiling moorings. The research combines significant time spent at sea making measurements, numerical simulation of underwater and water leaving light fields and statistical data analysis. Most of the work is concentrated on optically complex shelf seas (e.g. Bristol Channel, Irish Sea, Mediterranean) where the influence of terrestrial and anthropogenic sources are strongest, though more recently he has started to develop interests in optical complexity in more open ocean areas that are subject to episodic inputs of wind-borne particulates. A key element of David’s NERC Fellowships has been the development of several very successful collaborations with partners in UK and international institutions.

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Optical constituent concentrations and uncertainties obtained for Case 1 and 2 waters from a spectral deconvolution model applied to in situ IOPs and radiometry
Lo Prejato M, McKee D
Earth and Space Science Vol 10 (2023)
Spectral and RGB analysis of the light climate and its ecological impacts using an all-sky camera system in the Arctic
Grant Stephen, Johnsen Geir, McKee David, Zolich Artur, Cohen Jonathan H
Applied Optics Vol 62, pp. 5139-5150 (2023)
Estimating surface concentrations of Calanus finmarchicus using standardised satellite-derived enhanced RGB imagery
McCarry Cait, Basedow Sünnje L, Davies Emlyn J, McKee David
Remote Sensing Vol 15 (2023)
Neural networks to retrieve in water constituents applied to radiative transfer models simulating coastal water conditions
Hadjal Madjid, Paterson Ross, McKee David
Frontiers in Remote Sensing Multi- and Hyper-Spectral Imaging Vol 4 (2023)
A compilation of global bio-optical in situ data for ocean-colour satellite applications - version three
Valente André, Sathyendranath Shubha, Brotas Vanda, Groom Steve, Grant Michael, Taberner Malcolm, Antoine David, Arnone Robert, Balch William M, Barker Kathryn, Barlow Ray, Bélanger Simon, Berthon Jean-François, Beşiktepe Sükrü, Borsheim Yngve, Bracher Astrid, Brando Vittorio, Canuti Elisabetta, Chavez Francisco, Cianca Andrés, Claustre Hervé, Clementson Lesley, Crout Richard, Frouin Robert, García-Soto Carlos, Gibb Stuart W, Gould Richard, Hooker Stanford B, Kahru Mati, Kampel Milton, Klein Holger, Kratzer Susanne, Kudela Raphael, Ledesma Jesus, Loisel Hubert, Matrai Patricia, Mckee David, Mitchell Brian G, Moisan Tiffany, Muller-Karger Frank, O'Dowd Leonie, Ondrusek Michael, Platt Trevor, Poulton Alex J, Repecaud Michel, Schroeder Thomas, Smyth Timothy, Smythe-Wright Denise, Sosik Heidi M, Twardowski Michael, Vellucci Vincenzo, Voss Kenneth, Werdell Jeremy, Wernand Marcel, Wright Simon, Zibordi Giuseppe
Earth System Science Data Vol 14, pp. 5737-5770 (2022)
Disruption of marine habitats by artificial light at night from global coastal megacities
Smyth T J, Wright A E, Edwards-Jones A, McKee D, Queirós A, Rendon O, Tidau S, Davies T W
Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene Vol 10 (2022)

More publications

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Research Interests

Our group is interested in problems of radiance transfer in seawater, light utilisation by phytoplankton, optical monitoring of ecological processes, and remote sensing in the marine environment. These problems all involve the application of physical principles in an interdisciplinary context. Activities range from in situ measurement of optical properties at sea from ships and other platforms, through radiative transfer simulations of underwater and water leaving light fields, to development of new algorithms for interpretation of ocean colour remote sensing data from satellite-borne sensors.

Professional Activities

GlobalHAB/EuroMarine Workshop on Modelling and Prediction of Harmful Algal Blooms
Invited Talk
NEODAAS (External organisation)
NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility (External organisation)
Invited Talk
Invited Talk

More professional activities


Optimisation of the Kongsfjorden Rijpfjorden Observatory Program
McKee, David (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2024 - 31-Jan-2026
Coccolithophore controls on ocean alkalinity (CHALKY)
McKee, David (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2026
Assessing potential to remotely observe micro-jellyfish swarms through measurement of absorption characteristics
McKee, David (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2023
SAfe Passage through Shifting Sands
Macdonald, Malcolm (Principal Investigator) Clemente, Carmine (Co-investigator) McKee, David (Co-investigator) Tachtatzis, Christos (Co-investigator) Clark, Ruaridh (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2024
A roadmap for implementing the SDGs using space data
White, Chris (Principal Investigator) Morse, Tracy (Co-investigator) Sindico, Francesco (Co-investigator) Vasile, Massimiliano (Co-investigator) McKee, David (Co-investigator)
Space data offers high-resolution, real-time, global scale earth observation and monitoring of our planet. Over half of the Essential Climate Variables (ECV) can only be measured from space, spanning the oceanic, atmospheric and terrestrial elements of the earth climate system. As well as supporting long term climate monitoring and modelling of impacts and change, space data offers a unique opportunity to support global efforts in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These include observing global changes over different time scales such as rising sea levels, the quantification of our global carbon footprint, and the accounting of natural capital. Climate change is also increasing the frequency and severity of natural disasters which impact our most vulnerable populations, economies and environments. Space-based assets can support impact-based early-warning forecasts and real-time monitoring solutions to prepare for and respond to natural disasters such as floods, wildfires, and cyclones, as well as contributing to event attribution analyses that can enable relating causes to impacts.
Achieving the SDGs, and harnessing the potential of space data in a changing climate is beyond the reach of any single individual or institution. At Strathclyde, while we are well placed to service the Scottish government's needs on sustainable development, we do not fully understand where our cross-disciplinary expertise lies with regards to both sustainable development and the use of space data. The ambitions of the SDGs call for coordination and collective efforts from across disciplines and institutions. It is therefore critical that Strathclyde’s researchers and thinkers are able to come together in a common SDG vision through a detailed ‘roadmap’ to guide (and collaborate with) the Space Cluster and other external partners in how space data can be used to support sustainable development and the implementation of the SDGs.
The objectives of this project are to:
1.Review the SDGs and global space ECV data, including availability, accessibility, uncertainties and usability, based on existing publications and resources
2.Explore Strathclyde’s cross-disciplinary sustainability and space expertise, supported by the Space Cluster, the CfSD and SCELG, and map Strathclyde’s sustainability and space expertise to the SDGs
3.Review earth observation and space-related sustainable development expertise across the UK
4. Create a ‘roadmap’ for Strathclyde’s Space Cluster, identifying challenges, knowledge gaps and opportunities for external partnerships towards the implementation of the SDGs using space data

TIC Zone Ideas Fund (Strathclyde) (£11,653)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
The impact of artificial light on arctic marine organisms and ecosystems during the polar night (Deep Impact)
McKee, David (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 30-Jan-2024

More projects

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Dr David McKee

Email: david.mckee@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 3068