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Content archived on 2024-04-19

North-West European shelf programme


The North-West European shelf is one of the world's largest
and its waters belong to the best studied areas of this kind. The area represents an important transit region for dissolved and particulate matter stemming from major European rivers.
Extended research cruises, combined with a number of numerical models, have produced a high level of knowledge. The combined data sets of this area provide one of the most detailed sets of observations ever undertaken in any shelf sea. However due to the large scale and the strong variability of the phenomena involved, present knowledge still has a fragmentary character. No insight exists into the long term evolution of the shelf
system and no reliable estimates are available regarding the net retention or release of matter.

To tackle these questions at an appropriate scale and to
exploit and co- ordinate European preeminence in shelf sea
research there is a strong need from the various research
groups to start an integrated project in this area. This is
the challenge of the NOWESP project.

The objectives can be summarized in the following three

- to quantify the biogeochemical fluxes, such as the fluxes of nutrients, plankton, carbon, and the transport of
organic and inorganic particulate matter, including their
biological and chemical modifications.

- to estimate their variabilities and trends.

- to understand the nature of shelves as a link between
land and ocean.

NOWESP will integrate and analyze existing European data sets. From these integrated data sets the project aims to make an
assessment of the fluxes of energy and matter, as well as
their variability. Because the North-West European Shelf, and especially the North Sea, is an intensively investigated area and possesses a large number of monitoring networks,
comprehensive hydrographic and chemical-biological data sets are available in the NOWESP countries.
These will be made available for the purposes of NOWESP.
NOWESP contributes to fulfil the need for data integration at the Community level and the particular needs of several member states to obtain more knowledge about the fluxes of the
various constituents over the shelf and especially in the
North Sea.
NOWESP provides a state-of-the-art of present-day knowledge on shelf fluxes in the North-West European Shelf and clarifies
the priorities of further field measurements and model
developments from the viewpoint of fluxes.

Call for proposal

Data not available


EU contribution
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Kortenaerkade 1

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Total cost
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Participants (17)