Towards a joint European research infrastructure network for coastal observatories

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. In-situ data collected, combined with remote sensing and models output, contribute to detect, understand and forecast the most crucial coastal processes over extensive areas within the various national and regional marine environments.

Coastal observations are an important part of the marine research puzzle of activities and applications. However significant heterogeneity exists in Europe concerning technological design of observing systems, measured parameters, practices for maintenance and quality control, as well as quality standards for sensors and data exchange. Up to now, the expansion of “coastal observatories” has been driven by domestic interests and mainly undertaken through short-term research projects. Therefore the main challenge for the research community is now to increase the coherence and the sustainability of these dispersed infrastructures by addressing their future within a shared pan-European framework.

This is the main objective of JERICO, which 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 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. Harmonisation and strengthening coastal observation systems within EuroGOOS regions will be sought.

Unique twin Trans National Access experiments will be carried out in order to reveal the potential of datasets used in synergy. Central coastal infrastructure in Europe will be opened for international research. This will among other benefits GMES and European contribution to climate change research.

New joint research will be conducted in order to identify new and strategic technologies to be implemented in the next generation European coastal observatories. Focus is given on emerging technologies and the biochemical compartment.

JERICO intends to contribute to the international and global effort on climate change research (GEOSS), to provide coastal data inputs for operational ocean observing and forecasting, and also to answer to some of the needs of the environmental research and societal communities.

More information about the project can be found at the project website.