Maritime Forum

Thirteenth meeting of Marine Observation and Data Expert Group

Event date:
08/06/2011 - 09:30 to 18:00
Table of Contents

    Participants

    The thirteenth meeting of the Marine Observation and Data Expert Group (MODEG)  was attended by Hermanni  Backer MODEG, Jean-Marie  Beckers MODEG, Sükrü Besiktepe MODEG, Frédérique  Blanc MODEG, Antonio Bode MODEG, Jean-François Bourillet MODEG, Simon Claus MODEG, Franciscus Colijn MODEG, David Connor DG-ENV, Hans Dahlin MODEG, Gerben  de Boer MODEG, Marecello  del Brenna Prysmian Powerlink SrL and Chairman of the Board of the Supergrid , Raf Deroo DG-MARE, Peter Edmonds The Crown Estate, Robert  Gatliff MODEG, Neil Holdsworth MODEG, Cherith  Moses MODEG, Glenn Nolan MODEG, Elena Partescano OGS, Lesley Rickards MODEG, Agnes Robin DG-RTD, Dick Schaap MODEG, Angela  Schäfer MODEG, John Shaw Mainstream Renewable Energy, Iain Shepherd DG-MARE, Stefania Sparnocchia MODEG, Terje Thorsnes MODEG, Vasilis Valavanis MODEG, Henry  Vallius MODEG, Matteo Vinci OGS, Christopher Zimmerman MODEG.

    The experts provided insights and opinions on the next phase of the Marine Observation and Data Network and on the data challenges and opportunities offered by offshore renewable energy.

    Next Phase of European Marine Observation and Data Network

    MODEG were asked to assess progress in the thematic assembly groups with special emphasis as to what could be done in follow-up actions to be launched 2011-2013.

    Hydrography

    presentation

    MODEG suggested that the following issues could be dealt with in future actions:

    1. Increase number of data providers and sources
    2. Expanding geographic coverage to all European maritime regions by including also:
      1. Black Sea
      2. Baltic Sea
      3. North East Atlantic - Norwegian Sea
      4. Arctic waters
    3. Improve digital terrain model by:
      1. upgrading the gridding algorithm (also learning from Geo-Seas WP11 experiences) for less anomalies – apply for all regions
      2. improving the overall resolution from 450 meters to 200 meters
        1. There was some discussion about this. 50 metres resolution data is available from some countries. Finer resolution data is considered as sensitive by ministries of defence. Some wondered whether it would be possible to have a variable resolution digital terrain model with finer grids near the coast.
      3. developing a fully smoothed (polished) version
      4. providinga projected  grid (X,Y squares) next to the geographic grid (latitude-longitude- boxes) to serve different user communities
      5. expanding the number of data providers, data sets and metadata
    4. Investigate and establish interoperability with IHO standards, in particular S100
    5. Investigate the use of OLEX data sets as additional sources
      1. OLEX data have been collected by sonar instruments on board fishing vessels. The Norwegian company that runs OLEX allows its use buy those who contribute to it. A representative should be invited to the next MODEG meeting. The coverage is good but its quality should be examined. 
    6. Prepare a uniform high resolution European coastline from national coastlines
    7. Provide calculated and derived products such as:
      1. slopes
      2. curvature
      3. rugosity (is a measure of small-scale variations or amplitude in the height of a surface)
      4.  backscatter for geological purposes, including an inventory of backscatter data sets and pilot for use
    8. Provide technical support and staff capacity to HO’s for reworking / harmonisation of their DTMs and production of metadata (see NBorth Sea HO’s)
    9. Explore how to make use of the results of the BLAST project[1]

    MODEG suggested that the thematic assembly group also look at making registration as easy as possible.

    It was proposed that those responsible for the public domain digital terrain model, GEBCO, be invited to the next MODEG meeting in order to begin discussions on harmonizing standards. Colin Jacobs, GEBCO's bathymetric editor, from the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton, was suggested.

    Geology

    presentation

    Within the scope of the existing project, it was recommended that the thematic assembly group for geology provide

    1. direct links or shortcuts to the marine layers in the OGE portal
    2. a complete layer package (end July 2011)
    3. data layers as downloadable products, not only through a web-mapping service
    4. continue focus on INSPIRE compliance, open standards and open access to data
    5. capability for user-defined maps
    6. improvre traceability and confidence

    In the next phases of the project the  Commission could consider asking for:

    1. expanded areal coverage (Bay of Biscay and Iberian coast, Mediterranean, Black Sea, Norwegian Sea, Barents Sea, North East Atlantic, Eastern Gulf of Finland...)
    2. highlight significance of improved data quality (particularly multibeam bathymetry including backscatter)
    3. secure long-term updating
    4. improved  spatial resolution (sub-areas), benefitting on existing work
    5. increased resolution of classification, and include different classification schemes
    6. behavioural units (cliffy coasts, sand dunes, estuaries etc..) and incorporate temporal change
    7. morphological features
    8. processes, and include time series (4D, climate change)
    9. allow dynamic updating of map layers
    10. thematic maps for more users – i.e. aggregate industry and renewable energy industry, fisheries, defence, etc.

    Physics

    presentation

    This project is only six months old so the comments were largely concerned with the current project rather than any follow-up. These comments were:

    1. The portal is the first one with near real-time data. This raises a number of issues:
      1. archiving (of real time data)
      2. volumes of data (orders of magnitude larger)
      3. easy downloads
    2. It will be helpful to show:
      1. data available to project
      2. data available in general
      3. data existing but not available
      4. data gaps
    3. it will be useful to have only have one licence. Since the portal is served by SeaDataNet and MyOCean, this will be managed carefully. One licence that covers all products and is a combination of the sub-portal licence arrangements?
    4. data quality: for the real time data will be  flagged by the MyOcean system. Some work might be needed for waves as these are not included  in MyOcean
    5. measurements from GMES satellite could be incorporated in future
    6. a machine to machine portal is more appropriate  than the  ‘human’ interface used in other EMODnet portals. This may  need a rethink for the shopping basket aspect for real time a data
    7. Lessons from this portal for real-time data could be applied to other portals. Real time chemical data (nutrients) could be included.
    8. Aggregated datasets could be provided but maps of interpolated measurements are not appropriate.. A time series of gridded data might be derived from MyOCean directly.

    Chemistry

    presentation

    MODEG considered progress very satisfactory. The remaining year will enable teething problems to be sorted out. Suggestions (some of which are already planned) were

    1. improve access to time-series data
    2. integrate  products with measurements better including better traceability of original measurements within products
    3. improve identification and finding of layers: by categories, by keywords in order to deal with a large number of variables. It was thought that CAMIOON might help.
    4. stimulate data providers to include their data by showing usefulness of products and making sure that ad=data providers are properly accredited.

    Follow-up projects could include the following elements

    1. more parameters (identified by both users and developers), e.g. Silicate, stable isotopes, partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide
    2. analysis & identification based on the metrics from the present EMODNET Chemistry web.
    3. gridded data (at least for some variables)  for multivariate analysis and procedures for preparing multivariate products.
    4. more validation of products
    5. complete coverage

    Biology

    presentation

    The biology portal has shown remarkable progress and has satisfied contractual obligations but the challenges of processing data on the complex variety of marine life mean that there is still some way to go before the portal meets the needs of potential users. In particular MODEG would like to see:

    1. gridding facilities/isoplots e.g. for abundance/densities at least fotr some species. Presence data is nice but not useful enough for ecological question
    2. The portal should be more attractive to users
    3. create possibility to filter data (pre-catalogue):
      1. available: spatial (Lat Lot depth)
      2. available: temporal
      3. available: by taxon
      4. to be added: density/abundance
      5. to be added: by attribute such as red listed/endangered, invasive, commercially exploited, edible, poisonous, long lived/short lived, benthic/pelagic, coastal/oceanic, intertidal…
      6. to be added: only if other data is available (such as hydrography data from the same station or cruise)
      7. to be added: by quality flag
    4. add possibility for user feedback, display web access statistics, promote “dataset of the month”, most popular queries
    5. ensure continuity on the fringes of the area in question

    Physical habitats

    presentation

    The MODEG team evaluating the physical habitats portal offered ideas for follow-up projects:

    1. extend the coverage to all EU-regions, e.g. Black Sea, Islands, Norway, East Mediterranean
    2. progressively move to higher resolutions
      • At least 100 m resolution should be reasonably possible with the actual model. A high resolution coastal strip could be considered.
      • Get the highest resolution out of existing data in a +/- patchy approach to produce several products/layers according to different resolutions. No need for degrading (avoid information loss!).  Examples could be provided for areas where there is high resolution data available ( ~ 5-20- m)
      • Define data/resolution gaps
    3. Improve EUNIS classification system
      • Extend to deeper waters[2]
      • Improve sedimentation and substrate classification system for EUNIS. This is consistent with the recommendation for the geology lot)
      • Add a more physical geomorphology aspect to EUNIS (research). (Geological composition of surface/near-surface substrates, structures and  features, incl. biogenic structures, e.g. carbonate, reefs, shale, microstructure compounds, …  backscatter, hydro acoustics, high resolution bathymetry, rugosity/roughness approach) e.g.
        • CMECS (NOAA) - Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard - A National Standard to Support Ecosystem-Based Resource Management
        • Garry Greene et al. “A Classification Scheme for Deep Seafloor Habitats”, Oceanologica Acta (1999)
        • Madden C.J. et al. “Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard”, NOAA and NatureServe, (2008
    4. Make a strong case to couple actual biology with physical habitat maps to prove/improve habitat classification. This should  involve specialists of benthic biology
    5. Try to establish a prospective data workflow for habitat mapping  (Access to data, harmonizing habitat mapping, frequency of data update - local, regional, national scale -> EU scale)
      • Work on/solve the data flow/update problems from other portals and base data from national/regional agencies (data policies – data access)
      • keep track with running national/non national seabed mapping programs
      • support harmonizing of habitat & monitoring programs
      • manage frequency of product updates
    6. Try to tackle temporal (seasonal) and global change behaviour of habitats

    Overall Comments on EMODnet portals

    Nearly all of MODEG thought that EMOdnet could be much more attractive and useful to users if all the data could be accessed through one portal. The Commission said that this is a long term aim. As a first step, a portal will be developed providing links to the other portals with a description of the available data. A second stage would be to facilitate searches across different thematic areas.

    Marine data and offshore renewable energy

    The second part of the MODEG meeting was following up on the previous meeting. The aim was to examine how the ongoing marine knowledge activity could benefit the rapidly growing renewable energy industry and how the data collected during the design, construction and operation of this renewable energy network could be made available to other public and private uses.

    Submarine Cable Installation

    presentation

    Marecello del Brenna, CEO of Prysmian Powerlink SrL and Chairman of the Board of the Supergrid explained the two-stage process for surveying cable routes.

    1. The desktop study to provide a preliminary route. This is essential during the bidding process and can incur significant costs. The data required include:
      1. Cable route at shore ends and at sea,
      2. Bathymetry, morphology and nature of the seabed
      3. Cable protection requirements,
      4. Expected installation period,
      5. Permitting (planned developments along the route, marine delimitations, permits and regulations, working windows, flora and fauna protected areas),
      6. Other utilities along the route,
      7. Offshore and onshore activities and hazards.
      8. Navigation and anchoring areas, fishing activities.
    2. A detailed Marine Survey along the whole route  will provide information regarding: 
      1.  Bathymetry, morphology and nature of the seabed
      2.  Seabed and sub-bottom soil composition
      3.  Location and depth of utilities to be crossed

    The output of the Survey is the basis for planning the final cable route and for installation. The cable operators are the clients of the cable layers and become the owners of the survey.

    The output of the Survey is the basis for the final cable route and relevant survey maps for engineering and installation. The cables themselves need to be buried in order to protect them from other activities – particularly fishing.

    UK Crown Estate

    Peter, Edmonds, marine data manager for the UK Crown Estate described how his organisation handles marine data.

    The Crown Estate owns virtually the entire UK seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit, including the rights to explore and utilise the natural resources of the UK continental shelf (excluding oil, gas and coal). The Energy Act 2004 vested rights to The Crown Estate to lease the generation of renewable energy on the continental shelf within the Renewable Energy Zone out to 200nm. On 6 April 2009, this role was extended under the Energy Act 2008 to allow the offshore area to be used for methane gas and carbon dioxide storage.

    Tenants are obliged by their licences to deposit their data with the Crown Estate.. there are no specific rules in the licence on the data re-use but If these data are not confidential, then they are delivered to the public through a data portal. The Crown Estate has collected 450 datasets and there are 500 downloads of data per month. Some are collected under Freedom of Information legislation. This level of demand is rather constant

    Needs of Renewable Energy for marine data

    presentation

    John Shaw of Mainstream Renewable Energy reiterated his message from the previous meeting. The industry was going to need a loty of data and that these data should be collected and assembled in such a way that they benefit the maximum number of marine users. The industry ahs nothing to lose and everything to gain by ensuring their coherence and interoperability and allowing the maximum possible re-use of these data. He presented a preliminary list of the data needs of the industry.

    Parameter Column

    Parameter

    Parameter Value

    Instrument Type

    Frequency of collection

    Air

    Wind Speed

    Determine wind energy characteristics

    Anemometer/ LIDAR

    Continuous - 6 seconds

     

    Air Temperature

    Determine operating conditions for Wind Turbines

    Thermometer

    Continuous - 60 seconds

    Water

    Depth

    Identify best postion for Wind Turbines ( < 40 M Depth )

    Sonar

    Once-off Campaign

     

    Water Temperature

    Determine operating conditions for Wind Turbines

    Thermometer

    Once-off Campaign

     

    Waves

    Determine operating conditions for Wind Turbines

    Bouys

    Prolonged Campaign ( 6 months + )

     

    Currents

    Determine operating conditions for Wind Turbines

    Bouys

    Prolonged Campaign ( 6 months + )

    Seabed

    Seabed Macro- Topology

    Identify exclusion areas

    Satellite Mapping

    Acquired GIS file information

     

    Seabed Topology

    Identify best position for Wind Turbines ( < 40 M Depth )

    Sidescan Sonar

    Once-off Campaign

     

    Ship wrecks

    Identify exclusion areas

    Magnetometer

    Once-off Campaign

     

    Sub-strata

    Identify solid ground for Foundations

    Boomer

    Once-off Campaign

     

    Sub-strata

    Identify solid ground for Foundations

    Extracted Sample

    Once-off Campaign

    Flora and Fauna

    Macro-Population

    Identify exclusion areas

    Physical count

    Acquired Ecology file information

     

    Mammal Fauna Count

    Meet Ecological Regulatory requiremetns

    Physical count

    Once-off Campaign

     

    Fish Count

    Meet Ecological Regulatory requiremetns

    Physical count

    Once-off Campaign

     

    Bird Count

    Meet Ecological Regulatory requiremetns

    Physical count

    Once-off Campaign

     

    Micro-Fauna Count

    Meet Ecological Regulatory requiremetns

    Extracted Sample

    Once-off Campaign

    He highlighted the need to ensure safe communication of these data and reliable archiving.

    COSYNA – an integrated coastal observing system for Northern and Arctic Seas

    presentation

    Franciscus Colijn presented insights from the COSYNA integrated monitoring project, originally planned for the Wadden Sea but applicable to all northern seas. The project covers

    1. Remote sensing and FerryBoxes operating on the North Sea scale
    2. Buoys, piles, and X-band radar operating near-coast
    3. Pre-operational documentation of
    4. Water quality and phytoplankton dynamics
    5. Near-coast morphology by X-band radar from the shore
    6. Current and wave fields using HF radar
    7. Reconstruction of state variables (SPM, phytoplankton) by integrating remote sensing, in-situ observation, data assimilation and modelling.
    8. Integration of new techniques to improve automatic measurements
    9. Efficient data management
    10. Movement towards continuous monitoring

    There was some discussion about maintenance needs. Biofouling means that some instruments need to be cleaned once a week in the summer. MODEG found the project very useful in identifying current instrument capabilities and needs for further devlopment

    Thoughts on integrated monitoring for offshore wind farms

    presentation

    Gerben de Boer pointed out that huge public deficits and inertia are looming and that inertia and fragmented national programmes stand in the way of innovation. He had four main pieces of advice:

    1. Take advantage of wind farms as monitoring platforms
    2. Develop common EU datapool. EMODnet thematic assembly  groups and MyOCean thematic assembly centres are contributing towards this infrastructure.
    3. Develop automated tools for harvesting data. EMECO and NOAA's DCHART are examples. This is the machine-to-machine interface discussed earlier in the meeting
    4. Move towards real-time data

    Study on marine data used for licensed activities

    The Commission is considering the merits of legislation facilitating the re-use of data gathered by private operators undertaking licensed activities in the sea. A first step would be a study to identify current practice in coastal states and to see how it is working. A call for tender for a framework contract is currently being evaluated. Once a contract is awarded the work can begin – probably towards the end of 2011.

    Next Meeting

    The fourteenth meeting of the Marine Observation and Data Expert Group will take place on 12 and 13 of October 2011. Issues that might be covered include:

    1. The OLEX system for collecting bathymetry data from fishing boats
    2. The GEBCO warehouse for public domain bathymetry data
    3. The JERICO project for coastal marine data
    4. INSPIRE – the draft implementing rules will be available and require comments
    5. EIRG – the marine infrastructure reflection group
    6. Marine spatial planning
    7. The conclusions of the marine infrastructure expert group

     


    [1] The marine and coastal reference base addresses the needs of marine spatial planning, environmental protection, socio-economic development, risk management and mitigation, by delivering harmonised land and sea geographic datasets.for tuning of separation models, vertical referencing, etc 

    [2] Howell, K.L. (2010) A benthic classification system to aid in the implementation of marine protected area networks in the deep / high seas of the NE Atlantic. Biological Conservation. 143, 1041–1056.