European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Improving and Integrating European Ocean Observing and Forecasting Systems for Sustainable use of the Oceans

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EuroSea (Improving and Integrating European Ocean Observing and Forecasting Systems for Sustainable use of the Oceans)

Reporting period: 2021-05-01 to 2022-10-31

The Ocean is a fundamental component of the Earth system that covers more than 70% of the planet’s surface, is host of the largest ecosystem, and is a driver of global climate, and much more. In addition, the ocean is providing a wealth of resources for humanity, such as food, transport, recreation, transport, and increasingly a source of genetic material. Despite all of this, the sustained observing and information system from the ocean is, for most parts, still in a pilot phase. This means that the knowledge on the ocean and changes in the ocean is fragmented and not fully functional so that the system that should provide the information is fragile. Ocean observing is “big science” and cannot be solved by individual nations; it is necessary to ensure adequate integration, coordination and support for the diverse actors along the ocean observing value chain. The ocean knows no borders, and 2/3 of the ocean is outside of national jurisdiction, which is another argument for the need of international cooperation.
EuroSea aims at improving the coordination and integration of a sustained ocean observing and forecasting system for sustainable use of the oceans. In order to focus on the overall objectives of EuroSea, we have been working towards the vision and mission statements:
EuroSea Vision: Research and innovation towards a user-focused, truly interdisciplinary, and responsive European ocean observing and forecasting system, that delivers the essential information needed for human wellbeing and safety, sustainable development and blue economy in a changing world.
EuroSea Mission: Use a co-design approach to significantly improve European ocean observing and forecasting services and products by building the community needed for a system that delivers services and products on the ocean, ocean climate, marine ecosystems and their vulnerability to human impacts.
EuroSea has formulated three overarching goals of the action: 1) Improve the European ocean observing system integrated into a global context, 2) Deliver ocean observations and forecasts, leading to increased knowledge about ocean climate, marine ecosystems and their vulnerability to human impacts, and 3) Demonstrate the importance of the ocean as significant for an economically viable and healthy society. EuroSea brings together key actors of ocean observation and forecasting with the end users of ocean observations, responding to the Future of the Seas and Oceans Flagship Initiative. EuroSea is increasing the technology readiness levels (TRL) of critical components of ocean observations systems and tools, and in particular the TRL of the integrated ocean observing system as such. EuroSea works towards integrating individual observing elements to an integrated observing system and connects end-users with the operators of the observing system and information providers. EuroSea demonstrates the utility of the European Ocean Observing System through three demonstration activities focused on operational services, ocean health and climate, where a dialogue between actors in the ocean observing system will guide the development of the services, including market replication and innovation supporting the development of the blue economy. EuroSea is strengthening the European and Global Ocean Observing System (EOOS and GOOS) and supports their partners.
EuroSea has seen the completion of several important achievements that have resulted in several services and products that support various societal benefit areas. We have also seen increase in travel and the possibility to meet in person, which has increased the pace of interaction and integration. EuroSea has been actively engaged in a number of important international events and helped shape the international agenda on ocean observing and forecasting. For instance, EuroSea was participating in UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, and has helped supporting the research and systematic observation agenda of UNFCCC, and to highlight the importance of the ocean for climate. This has been successful, and the role of the ocean, and the need to observe and forecast the ocean, is now more widely accepted by the parties of UNFCCC. Another important event during 2022 was the 2nd Ocean Conference held in Lisbon late June that was attended by several EuroSea scientists that advocated widely for the importance of sustained ocean observing and forecasting. These are only two examples of high-level events where the need of ocean information underpinned by sustained ocean observing and forecasting systems were recognized, EuroSea scientists advocated for this during many other occasions during the period.
EuroSea has organized a number of workshops and meetings to harmonize and integrate the ocean observing and forecasting community. For instance, the macroalgal and the seagrass monitoring systems made great progress, and the Integrated Marine Litter Monitoring System (IMDOS) also made progress during 2022. EuroSea scientists also published several best practices guides on the Ocean Best Practices repository. It is important to carefully design ocean observing efforts, and EuroSea has conducted Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) in order to evaluate an effective in situ observing system used to validate the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission that was launched late in 2022.
The ocean observing system consists of various observing networks that share common technology or interest in a particular essential ocean variable (EOV). In EuroSea we are supporting 8 of these networks to improve their governance, best practices and data flows. EuroSea has delivered several impactful improvements for networks like ocean gliders, moorings, autonomous surface vehicles, high frequency radar etc. EuroSea scientists have made great progress in assimilating (i.e. including) in-situ observations from, for instance, underwater gliders into ocean models. In addition, EuroSea has improved the skill of seasonal forecasts of sea surface temperature and height (SST and SSH), as well as Ocean Heat Content (OHC).
In an effort to increase the efficiency of the observing system and increase the value of results from our partners, EuroSea has made great strides toward ensuring that an increased volume of near real time data from ship-based and other ocean observing platforms in the Baltic Sea are made available to the Copernicus Marine Services (and EMODnet). Advances were made to assimilate these data into numerical models aimed at developing suitable products to help improve HELCOM MSFD reporting efforts. Similarly, excellent progress was made in building a data buoy delivery system delivered to aquaculture co-developers, where data streams from the buoys flows to the Copernicus Marine Service In Situ TAC. EuroSea has also deployed and evaluated different ocean carbon observing platforms in the tropical Atlantic Ocean that should be able to increase the effectiveness and the accuracy of estimates of tropical carbon fluxes.
In EuroSea we are proud of seeing several important outputs with potentially high impact being delivered by our demonstrators around operational services, ocean health and climate as they demonstrate the utilization of results from all WPs of EuroSea to provide services and improved products to our stakeholders.
Visual overview of all EuroSea work packages