The EU recognizes that it is impossible to recommend a single European criterion to deal with eutrophication problems applicable to coastal areas. A number of scientific issues are addressed to develop efficient eutrophication criteria on coastal areas. Considering coastal systems complexity associated with highly dynamic spatial (horizontally and vertically) and temporal changes, it becomes obvious that any type of monitoring, either remote sensing or local data acquisition, can only give a brief perspec tive of the problems in coastal waters and estuaries (eutrophication, sediment transport). Satellite imagery has an impressive capability of describing spatial distribution but, inevitably, short term temporal phenomena (in the range of hours) and vertica l processes are impossible to track. On the other hand, local data measurements (with high costs) can show these short time trends but usually are unable to give a clear overview of spatial variation. With the proper modelling tools we are able to pick th e information given by monitoring work and fill the information gaps, thus the combination of these components gives the best management tool to deal with such complex problems. InSea aims to set-up and validate numerically robust ecological modelling sys tems for the areas under investigation in order to describe biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients occurring under different hydrographic and trophic regimes, and to explore the system capabilities in a forecast mode to support coastal zone managem ent issues. One of the objectives of this project is the development of methodologies to downscale physics from large scale data systems to regional models in order to force ecological modelling systems on coastal areas and make use of the full potential given by the fast growing computer power and IT skills to deliver useful information to decision makers and other data users.
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