Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


AtlantOS Report Summary

Project ID: 633211

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AtlantOS (Optimizing and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System)

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

AtlantOS - Optimising and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing Systems is a large scale EU project aiming to improve and innovate Atlantic observing to obtain an international, more sustainable, more efficient, more integrated, and fit-for-purpose system contributing to the Trans-Atlantic Research Alliance, the GEO (Group on Earth Observations) global initiative Blue Planet, and GOOS (Global Ocean Observing Systems). The key AtlantOS aims are i) to improve international collaboration in the design, implementation and benefit sharing of ocean observing, ii) to promote engagement and innovation in all aspects of ocean observing, iii) to facilitate free and open access to ocean data and information, iv) to enable and disseminate methods of achieving quality and authority of ocean information, and v), to support a growing sector of maritime industry from food supply to tourism, vi) to strengthen Blue Planet, GEO and GOOS and to sustain observing systems that are critical for the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service and its applications and to contribute to the aims of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation.
The ocean regulates the global climate, provides humans with natural resources such as food, materials, important substances, and energy, and is essential for international trade and recreational and cultural activities. Together with human development and economic growth, free access to, and availability of, ocean resources and services have exerted strong pressure on marine systems, ranging from overfishing, increasing resource extraction, and alteration of coastal zones to various types of thoughtless pollution. International cooperation and effective governance are required to protect the marine environment and promote the sustainable use of marine resources in such a way that due account can be taken of the environmental values of current generations and the needs of future generations. The societal relevant challenges such as food security, marine community health, and material and energy supply require sustained ocean observations. Many of these issues will be impacted by long-term changes in the ocean and will need long-term physical, biogeochemical and biological observations for system understanding, modelling and assessment. Atlantic Ocean observation is currently undertaken through loosely-coordinated in-situ observing networks and global satellite observations. They support science and a wide range of information products through a variety of associated data management and information delivery infrastructures. In-situ observing networks are by nature fragmented and implemented at national and regional level with some global coordination. Existing networks span the range from experimental to more established, most of them are not sustained and in addition there remain critical gaps for key observations. Thus there is tremendous opportunity to develop the systems towards a fully integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System (AtlantOS) consistent with the recently developed ‘Framework of Ocean Observing’ (FOO). The FOO (doi:10.5270/OceanObs09-FOO) was developed by a group of experts from all major international ocean research and observing initiatives, including the Word Climate Research Programme (WCRP). It provides a basis for integrating sustained observations of the biogeochemistry and biology of the oceans along with existing and future physical and climate observations.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The AtlantOS consortium is actively working on the broad range of project topics, some more specific results achieved so far are named hereafter. The collection of information on existing observations in the Atlantic Ocean is currently focussing on important phenomenon’s (physical, biogeochemical and ecological), relevant Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and observing platforms grouped into networks. A workshop dedicated to the definition of OSSEs (Observing System Simulation Experiment) resulted in a ‘design of experiments’ plan. A roadmap for sensor and instrument development has been created with input from companies, research organisations and operational groups across the EU and internationally. The roadmap is a living and open access document; it will continuously be updated during the lifetime of AtlantOS and beyond. The roadmap is a relevant tool for assessment of feasibility of measurement of parameters for future ocean systems.
Furthermore, ship-based observations undertaken by existing observing networks have been improved, expanded, and integrated. This included the oceanographic research vessels through the GO-Ship network and the Ships of Opportunity Programme (SOOP) as well as continuous plankton recorder measurements (CPR), acoustic fish data on abundance, distribution and community structure and sea floor mapping undertaken by various nations. Progress has also been made on biogeochemical analysis and the planning on shelf-wide cruises. Regarding the autonomous observing networks, to better understand the microbial component of biogeochemical processes in the water column, preliminary tests have been carried out to extract sequence information from preserved sediment trap samples. Moreover, it has been demonstrated successfully that DNA from phylogenetic marker genes can be extracted and sequenced. Various tests on DNA extraction, requirement, estimation, internal replication and cross-validation served to establish a preliminary workflow to define standard workflows and bioinformatic pipelines that could serve as a blueprint for future omic-type observations in the Atlantic.
In order to assess the national efforts in support of ocean observation in the North and South Atlantic, regional contacts were collected and enhanced. Multilateral meetings related to integrated Atlantic Ocean observation were attended and organized. Furthermore, a capacity-building programme has been supported focussing on early career scientist at the master and PhD level to participate in cruises to the South Atlantic. The first cruise was successfully conducted in March 2016.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The AtlantOS initiative aims to have a long-lasting and sustainable contribution to the societal, economic and scientific benefit arising from this integrated approach, by implementation beyond the project’s lifetime. Advances will be achieved by improving the value for money, extent, completeness, quality and ease of access to Atlantic Ocean data required by governments, science and the private sector. The overarching target of the AtlantOS initiative is to deliver an improved framework for the development of an integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System that goes beyond the state-of–the-art, and can be sustained after the project’s lifetime.
The newly developed technology roadmap for sensor and instrument development is an opportunity for assessment of capability and might be a future tool for instrument manufactures and ocean observation technology developers and users. The cooperation with the OECD on the economic potential of data from ocean observatories, which will be extended over the lifetime of AtlantOS, will hopefully result in a high quality assessment study report and would consequently feed well towards the G7 priorities.
Furthermore, the AtlantOS initiative directly supports the implementation of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and its contribution to the Blue Planet Initiative of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). Moreover it contributes to achieving the aims of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation that was signed in 2013 by the EU, Canada and the US, launching a Transatlantic Ocean Research Alliance to enhance collaboration to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and sustainably manage and use its resources. It further contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal 14, to “conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” by providing indicators building on a smart index framework, based on reliable open access ocean information. Moreover, AtlantOS might become an integrative part in terms of the consideration of the priority list of the G7 states.

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