European coastal and marine observatories (2020)
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Joining research efforts is essential for taking full advantage of Europe’s rich capital of knowledge and experience of coastal zone processes and management. Although serious progress has been achieved in the predictive power of models to simulate coastal zone dynamics, calibration with field data remains necessary because we are still confronted with limitations in our understanding of the basic processes. Many natural processes are not reproducible in the laboratory; progress in basic understanding therefore depends crucially on field observations in contrasting coastal environments. Such comprehensive observational programmes are beyond the possibilities of single institutions or even beyond the possibilities of single countries. A coordinated effort at the European scale is required.
The ENCORA Concerted Action formulated in its European Action Plan of 2008 a recommendation for the concerted development of a European network of Coastal and Marine Observatories. The recommendation was implemented by the European Commission in 2011 through the project JERICO: Joint European Research Infrastructure for Coastal Observatories, led by Ifremer (France). Around European coastal seas, the number of marine observing systems is quickly increasing under the pressure of both monitoring requirements and oceanographic research. Present demands for such systems include reliable, high-quality and comprehensive observations, automated platforms and sensors systems, as well as autonomy over long time periods. The main challenge of JERICO is to harmonize coastal observation systems in Europe, regarding the technical design, measured parameters, practices for maintenance and quality control, as well as quality standards for sensors and data exchange. JERICO therefore proposes a Pan European approach for a European coastal marine observatory network, integrating infrastructure and technologies such as moorings, drifters, ferrybox and gliders. Networking activities are implemented that will lead to the definitions of best practices for design, implementation, maintenance and distribution of data of coastal observing systems, as well as the definition of a quality standard.
Recently (2020) the third phase of JERICO, JERICO-S3 has been approved by the European Commission with a budget of 10 million EUR for the period 2020-2024. JERICO-S3 aims to provide a state-of-the-art, fit-for-purpose and visionary observational research infrastructure, expertise and high- quality data on European coastal and shelf seas, supporting world-class research, high-impact innovation and a window of European excellence worldwide. It will:
- Provide services for the delivery of high-quality environmental data,
- Provide access to solutions and facilities as services for researchers and users,
- Create product prototypes for EU marine core services and users,
- Support excellence in marine coastal research to better answer societal and policy needs.
Data from the European coastal observatories can be accessed through the EMODNET portal and other European data portals, see Marine data portals and tools.
The major field observatories and related infrastructures participating in the JERICO network are shown in Fig. 1 and listed in the Table below. Not all European observatories participate in JERICO. Notable exceptions are observatories of the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.
|Region||Name facility||Location / route||Description|
|Mediterranean||Expandable Seafloor Observatory OBSEA||Underwater observatory situated at Catalan Coast (near Barcelona)||OBSEA is an underwater cabled observatory connected with 4 km of cable to the coast of Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona, Spain) and placed at a depth of 20m in a fishing protected area. Operations are done by scuba divers and small boats. A surface buoy located at 40m from the underwater unit is an extension of OBSEA working as surface platform for measuring oceanographic and environmental parameters. A Shore Station provides power (3.6kW) to feed all the devices and the fiber optic link (1Gbps) to establish communications. At the same time from land we manage alarms and data storage. With a length of 1000 meters the terrestrial cable connects the Ground Station to the Beach Manhole where the submarine cable begins its route to the node location at 4 km from the coast and 20 m depth. OBSEA has nowadays two junction boxes with a total of 16 underwater webmate connectors.|
|SOCIB glider facility||Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain||The SOCIB Glider Facility is an example of new technologies being progressively implemented in coastal to open ocean regions allowing autonomous and sustained high-resolution monitoring of specific areas. The fleet in 2016 consists of 7 Slocum gliders and 2 iRobot Seagliders, equipped for collecting both physical (T, S) and biogeochemical data (fluorescence, oxygen, etc.) at high spatial resolutions (2km). SOCIB-GF includes a pressure chamber (1.000 m) as well as ballasting and operations labs. It also has access to other SOCIB facilities such as
|Corsica Channel Mooring – MPLC (CoCM)||Ligurian sea -Tyrrhenian sea||The Corsica Channel Mooring is an underwater station at about 450 m depth moored between the islands of Capraia and Corsica, at the sill of the Corsica Channel. Operative since July 1985, it continuously measures ocean currents and thermohaline properties of water masses in predetermined depths, for the monitoring of the surface and the intermediate circulation of the Mediterranean Sea, and exchanges between the two adjacent basins (Tyrrhenian Sea and Ligurian Sea). The site is part of the CIESM Hydro-Changes Programme. Along the mooring chain, the automated imaging system (GUARD1/DEEP-EYE) installed in 2019 provides macrofauna images at different depths.|
|Sicily Channel Observatory-SiCO2||Strait of Sicily||SiCO is a twin-mooring system placed in a key area connecting the Eastern and Western Mediterranean Sea. Equipped with current profilers and CTD probes, it continuously monitors surface and intermediate exchange of water masses and properties between the basins. A pCO2 probe is installed in SiCO1 near the bottom to widen the contribution of the observatory to climate studies and ocean acidification research.|
|CNRS-INSU Glider National Facility||La Seyne sur mer, France||The National Glider Facility (GNF) is held by DT-INSU. It is installed inside the Mediterranean Ifremer center and is part of the CETSM (European Centre of underwater technologies). GNF started in September 2008. It is manned by 3 engineers and 1 technician and operates 10 gliders. The facility is fully equipped with: a glider ballasting tank, an electronic lab for pre-deployment preparation, servers and communications devices for glider operations. It is linked to the ego-network.org web page offering a collaborative work environment and tools for piloting gliders. The following sensors can be mounted on the gliders: CTD, Oxygen Optode, Fluorimeters (ChlA, CDOM, Phycoerythrine, turbidity), Back scattering (470-880 nm).|
|Environmental Observatory Littoral (EOL)||Coastal buoy at bay of Villefranche-sur-mer, Ligurian Sea||Buoy equipped with a meteorological station, a winch dedicated to CTD (temperature and salinity at the moment, extension to other sensors in the future) profiles. Core oceanographic parameters (temperature, salinity, fluorescence, dissolved oxygen) are acquired with a SeaBird SBE19 on an hourly basis at a fixed depth (1.5 m). A fixed pH sensor is also deployed. Solar panels and a cabin large enough to install power hungry instruments and a profiler that allows measurements in the water column (80 m depth).|
|Acqua Alta Oceanographic Tower||Northern Adriatic, Gulf of Venice||Acqua Alta Oceanographic Tower is equipped with autonomous instrumentations covering atmospheric and hydrological parameters with a series of meteorological stations and oceanographic instruments. Measurements routinely acquired with periodic sampling concern biology, chemistry, physical oceanography. A direct view of the sea condition around the tower is available continuously by the three high resolution webcams installed on the roof. Two underwater webcams are installed at -3 and -12 m to observe biological populations and to monitor potentially critical phenomena such as jellyfish swarms and mucilaginous macro aggregates.|
|Meteoceanographic site S1-GB||Offshore the Po river delta||The station is made up by an elastic beacon, it consists of an aerial platform at 6.5 m asl, a steel pipe structure, a submerged float and an elastic joint for mooring to the sinker. The system has logging and NRT transmission devices, power systems with continuous voltage 12 and 24 VDC, meteorological station and double winch (connected to the submersed mooring) accommodating oceanographic instrumentation at different water levels (among them CTD probes, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, turbidity and CDOM sensors, ADCP). Additional measurements are routinely collected in the site with periodic sampling concerning biology, chemistry, oceanography.|
|OGS – MAMBO Miramare Buoy||Adriatic near Trieste, Italy||The MAMBO Miramare buoy site offers a multidisciplinary pilot platform suitable for the testing and experimentation of sensors and instrumentation. The buoy is easily accessible from the land and moored in a protected area, it has its own power supply by means of solar panels and batteries. The buoy is equipped with the following instrumentation with data in near real time:
|POSEIDON operational marine monitoring, forecasting and information system||Greek Seas||The observatory is a distributed infrastructure all over the Greek Seas including three coastal buoys (Saronikos buoy-SB, Heraklion Coastal Buoy-HCB and Athos buoy-AB) and one Ferrybox (PFB). A calibration laboratory is supporting the observing activities. The Athos buoy, equipped with meteo, T, C/S, wave sensors and current meter down to 100m in depth, is located in the coastal area in the Northern Aegean, representative of mesotrophic to oligotrophic conditions affected by circulation. Although coastal, the depth of the water column allows deeper observations.
|Atlantic||Ifremer Metrology Laboratory||Plouzané, France||The metrology laboratory deals with the following parameters: temperature and pressure (Cofrac accreditation for these two parameters), conductivity/salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH and fluorescence. The laboratory is equipped with high quality reference devices (fresh water and seawater calibration baths, standard platinum resistance thermometers, direct current resistance comparator bridges, fixed point cells, gauge pressure balance, reference salinometer, reference materials for fluorescence and turbidity calibrations and spectrophotometric pHT bench).|
|MAREL Carnot system||Boulogne-sur-Mer harbor, France||The measuring station is equipped with high performance systems for seawater analysis and near real time data transmission. This system records with a high frequency resolution (20 minutes), the following parameters: estimated sea level, gust wind speed, wind from direction relative true north, horizontal wind speed, relative humidity, light irradiance surface PAR, sea temperature, practical salinity, ph, dissolved oxygen, fluorescence, turbidity. For nitrate + nitrite, phosphate, silicate parameters the sampling frequency is set to 12 hours.|
|SMILE buoy||Luc sur Mer - Seine Bay, France||The SMILE buoy consists of a moored buoy physico-chemical and biological sensors working in continuous and autonomous conditions. The system is located in the Seine Bay (eastern English Channel) influenced both by marine coastal and fresh waters. The measuring station provides near real time data transmission. This system records with a high frequency resolution (30 minutes), the following parameters at the surface: wind from direction relative true north, horizontal wind speed, relative humidity, aerial PAR, and 1.5m below surface : sea temperature, practical salinity, dissolved oxygen, fluorescence, turbidity.|
|SCENES||Le Havre - Seine Estuary mouth, France||This system records with a high frequency resolution (15 minutes) the following parameters at the surface: estimated sea level, wind from direction relative true north, horizontal wind speed, relative humidity, sea temperature, practical salinity, dissolved oxygen, fluorescence, turbidity. The benthic station records sea level, practical salinity, fluorescence and turbidity every 30 minutes. An ADCP provide a current velocity profile (every 30 minutes) and wave parameters (every hour).|
|Sediment Profile Imager||UMR EPOC, Station marine d’Arcachon, France||SPI-H allows for the in situ acquisition of sediment profile images in cohesive sediments, which constitutes a sound and cost-effective alternative to classical faunal analyses in assessing the ecological quality of benthic habitats . This piece of equipment exists in two versions: (1) for shallow bottom (i.e., down to 30 m) waters, which can be operated from small ships, and (2) for deep (i.e., down to 1000 m) waters, requiring the use of a large oceanographic ship.|
|Donostia buoy, EuskOOS HF radar||Continental slope of SE Bay of Biscay offshore San Sebastian (Spain)||Starting by a network of shallow waters coastal stations (water depth 20m), the observing system was extended offshore in 2007 through the mooring of the Donostia metocean buoy (located over the slope) and, in 2009, through the installation of a HF Radar system. The Donostia buoy is sending in NRT the following parameters: Spectral waves (wave height, period and direction, Sea water temperature and salinity and marine currents profiles down to 200 m water depth, Atmospheric pressure and temperature, Wind direction and intensity, Solar radiation. It is a unique operational platform providing high frequency (hourly) water column information from surface down to 200m with 7 TS Seabird SBE25 (transmitting in real-time through an inductive cable) and 1 RDI WS 300 looking downwards; and it is located in the centre of the EuskOOS Long Range HF Radar footprint.|
NW Portugal (bottom depth 1600 m), W Portugal (bottom depth: 2000 m), W Portugal (bottom depth: 90 m), S Portugal
|The multiparametric buoys network that is part of the MONIZEE monitoring infrastructure started to be implemented in 2009. It presently comprises 4 Fugro-Oceanor Wavescan buoys (depth 90m - 1334 m), 3 of each located along the Portuguese continental slope, from the Gulf of Cadiz area to the northwestern Portuguese margin, and 1 located at the mid-shelf in the area of Nazare Canyon. The multiparametric buoys provide hourly measurements of meteorological parameters, waves, water temperature and currents at several depths for typical periods of operations of 6 months between maintenance actions. Near surface fluorometry, dissolved oxygen and turbidity are also available for shorter periods after each maintenance action. Part of the data is transmitted by satellite to Instituto Hidrografico and disseminated through IH web page.|
|Plocan Test Site||Northeast of Gran Canaria Island, Canary Islands, Spain||PLOCAN is a multipurpose service centre with land- and sea-based novel infrastructures to support marine research, technology development and innovation. The centre provides a cost-effective combination of services, such as an observatory, a test site, a base for underwater vehicles, laboratories, training and an innovation hub. In addition PLOCAN is configured as a Marine Test Site available to projects focused on testing and demonstrating of all kinds of marine devices, like those related to marine renewable energy but also submarine and surface autonomous vehicles, fixed buoys and marine observatories, profilers and sensors. Observing systems and installations support the environmental monitoring needs of the Test Site. Some installations are shared with the deep and extended observatories (e.g. surface gliders, lab facilities, e-infrastructure).
|SEADRONE research vessel||Pasaia, Gipuzkoa, Spain||Autonomous surface vessel equipped with echo sounder and a weather station for pelagic monitoring. Length: 190cm; Beam: 117cm; Draft: 50cm; Weight: 50kg; Electric propulsion (Speed: 3-4 knots). Endurance: >3 months (solar panels). Current services: Acoustic field surveys.|
|North Sea||VLIZ coastal observatory Installations||Belgian Part of the North Sea||# Research Vessel Simon Stevin (Ferry Box / Automatic Underway Measuring System): Semi-continuous measurements are collected on a daily basis through the RV Simon Stevin underway system with the FCM, frrf, fluorometer, turbitidy, oxygen, temperature and salinity sensors.
|Installations IRSNB||Belgian Part of the North Sea||
|COSYNA (Coastal Observation System for Northern and Arctic Seas)||North Sea||
COSYNA is an operational coastal monitoring, forecasting and information system for the North Sea composed by fixed platforms, FerryBoxes, gliders and HF-radar systems. It is being developed by institutes of the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM) and collaborating institutions and is operated by the HZG Research Centre. The infrastructure was built up since 2007 and is fully operational since 2012. COSYNA components:
|Northwest Atlantic||CEFAS SmartBuoy monitoring network||UK Waters and Warp, West Gabbard||The CEFAS SmartBuoys are used to collect high-frequency timeseries of surface salinity, temperature, turbidity, oxygen saturation, chlorophyll fluorescence and nutrient concentrations. Data are returned to the laboratory in near real time. Water samples are collected and preserved onboard for later analysis of nutrients and phytoplankton species. The SmartBuoys are serviced 4 times a year during which samples are collected by rosette at the sites and on transects between the sites. Users would also be able to access the rosette for sampling. Water samples are collected and preserved onboard for later analysis of nutrients and phytoplankton species. Parameters: High-frequency NRT series of surface S, T, turbidity, O2 saturation, Chlophyll fluorescence and nutrient concentrations.|
|Ferrybox system on RV Cefas Endeavour||In UK waters throughout the year||System for autonomous, cost-efficient and continuous collection of sea surface oceanographic HF, high-resolution data: S, T, fluorescence, turbidity, flow cytometry. Data has been used within the eutrophication monitoring programme and as an essential component of fisheries surveys to study environmental drivers of small pelagic fishes (eggs, larvae and adults) with specific focus on S, T and Chl-a maps. The FerryBox system on RV Cefas Endeavour is used for autonomous and continuous collection of the sea surface oceanographic data. Core variables include sea surface salinity and temperature, turbidity, chlorophyll fluorescence, oxygen, nutrients and meteorological parameters. A flow cytometer could be connected if requested.|
|NIVA Research Station||The Drøbak Sound in Oslo Fjord||The Research Station performs large-scale experiments in marine ecology, sediment research, biogeochemistry, aquaculture and test technology for treating ballast water. The station has fiberglass and concrete seawater pools with volumes ranging from 20 to 550 m³. A number of smaller testing facilities on land and the seabed outside the station have been built to manipulate and control marine ecosystems. The station has 10 laboratories for experimentation and analysis activities, among them an authorized infection lab for fish and a special lab for working with radioactive tracers. Facilities at Solbergstrand cover e.g. hard-bottom and soft-bottom mesocosoms, brackish water systems, seaweed and kelp communities, pelagic communities from the upper water depths and continuous water supply from surface and 60 meter with measurements on temperature and salinity. For surface water additional sensor for Chl-a fluorescence are installed and for 60 m pH and pCO2.|
|(NRS) FerryBox and calibration laboratory||Oslofjord||Fixed station (NRS) with FerryBox that include a core sensor package with thermo-salinograph, inlet temperature sensor, O2, chl-a fluorescence, turbidity and system for water sampling; with additional sensors for PAH, phycocyanin, cDOM, pCO2, pH, and microplastics sampling units on some installations.|
|NorFerry/NorSOOP infrastructure||Ferrybox systems in the North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Norwegian Sea, and Arctic areas||The NorFerry infrastructure TF and NO are installations on passenger vessels and a fixed station (NRS) with FerryBox systems that include a core sensor package with thermosalinograph, inlet temperature sensor, oxygen, chl-a fluorescence, turbidity and system for water sampling; with additional sensors for PAH, pycocyanin, cDOM, pCO2, pH, and microplastics sampling units on some installations. TF has radiometers for marine reflectance of the sea surface. The infrastructure is used for physical oceanography, pelagic biodiversity, chemical (contaminants), and biogeochemical (marine acidification) studies.|
|SmartBay Buoy||Galway Bay, Ireland||SMARTBUOY is an autonomous data buoy for testing environmental and meteorological sensors and to efficiently collect metocean time series. All data is transferred via a variety of wireless communication options and onto users through an online data portal or specialized access. Different mooring designs are adaptable to any specific testing environment; the buoy allows for easy integration of sensors and instruments into the available power and data transmission facilities, with deployment in air, at the ocean surface or deeper in the water column.|
|Ocean energy test site||Galway Bay, Ireland||SmartBay cabled underwater observatory has been operational since August 2015. The observatory includes a fibre optic data and power cable, a sub-sea sensor hosting platform (node) and a floating sea laboratory (SeaStation) which will be used to connect to energy conversion devices being tested at the 1/4 scale ocean energy test site. The platform includes a set of permanently deployed instruments (CTD, DO2, Turb./Fluor., ADCP, HDTV, hydrophone, acoustic array).|
|SmartBay Glider||Spiddal, Galway, Ireland (West Coast)||The SmartBay Glider is a Slocum G1 Electric Glider capable of operating to a maximum depth of 1000m. The glider used to efficiently collect oceanographic data. All data is transferred to the MI via Iridium communications.|
|Coastal Observation System for Northern and Arctic Seas COSYNA_AWIPEV||Svalbard North Atlantic – Arctic – Kongsfjord||Four underwater pluggable access points for network and power, equipped with an ADCP and a profiling CTD (Sea & Sun; depth, T, conductivity, ChlA fluorescence, O2 and turbidity).|
|Baltic||FA ferrybox system||Routes from Kiel to Oslo||FA is installed on the ferry MS Color Fantasy. The system has the core sensor with thermosalinograph, inlet temperature sensor, oxygen, Chl-a fluorescence, turbidity and system for water sampling. FA has also the additional fluorescence sensor of PAH, Pycocyanin and cDOM and passive sampling unit for contaminants. FA has spectrophotometric pH and a membrane based solid state detector pCO2 system, and radiometers for marine reflectance of the sea surface.|
|CGOF Central Gulf of Finland Autonomous Observing System||Gulf of Finland||
|Utö Atmospheric and Marine Research Station||Utö Island, Archipelago Sea, Baltic Sea||Infrastructure includes the following observations: Meteorology: wind speed and direction, temperature, PAR, diffuse and global radiation, weather camera; atmospheric trace gases; physical, chemical and optical properties of aerosol particles, atmospheric CO2- and CH4-concentrations.
Oceanography: Waves, temperature, currents, salinity, turbidity, chlorophyll, ice cover, pCO2, sea-atmosphere CO2-flux, O2, nutrient profiles at various depths during open sea period only. Lab: Continuous water inflow from the sea.
|FMI Baltic Sea Glider||Northern Baltic Sea, within 100 km from the Finnish coast.||The FMI glider is equipped with CTD, oxygen optode and fluorometer (chlorophyll, turbidity and CDOM). The glider also includes a propeller for improved operability. The maximum operating depth is 200m. Possibility to use also in other parts of the Baltic Sea if a local ship for deployment and recovery is available.|
|SMHI-FerryBox||Svea, Swedish research vessel, monthly monitoring cruises in the Baltic Proper, Kattegat and Skagerrak||Svea is the new Swedish research vessel. SMHI will use Svea for monthly monitoring in the Baltic Proper, Kattegat and Skagerrak. The research vessel has several new platforms for ocean monitoring, such as ROTV and MVP. The ferrybox will be equipped with sensor measuring salinity, temperature, oxygen, chlorophyll fluorescence, turbidity, CDOM, phycocyanin fluorescence, phycoerythrin fluorescence, pCO2 and spectrophotometric pH. There will be an IFCB installed next to the ferrybox and automatic samplers that can take water samples at given positions. The system also includes a passive sampler system with six tubes ready for filtration of, for example, zooplankton.|