This note presents a short summary of the analyses carried out by GISC relating to essential in-situ data and the observing systems. It also outlines how these systems could be framed for the maintenance and reinforcement of a portal, providing real time access to physical measurements and integration of information system with Copernicus programme.
The briefing also presents the work that was carried out by GISC in identifying the essential marine data sets, needed for the marine service and explains the case study – the EuroArgo quick-win in detail, which proofs to demonstrate on how the research infrastructure can provide data in support of the Copernicus programme.
The in situ data needed for the existing marine service were identified in consultation with MyOcean and with support from the Eionet European Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine waters. The baseline for identification of the in situ data needs was the current application portfolio of MyOcean covering global, pan-European and regional seas.
All identified marine in situ data were analysed and subsequently prioritised as essential, desirable or useful. The prioritisation was done based on a number of parameters, including: a) Criticality (the degree to which data are assimilated in real time in MyOcean models and the provision of constraints on the MyOcean model products); b) Use of data (is data used for production and/or near real time validation or verification); c) Fitness for purpose (does the data specifications match the service requirements); d) Access/data policy (is the data fully and openly available); e) Quality/coverage (is the data available in the right quality and coverage).
The essential in situ requirements for the marine service are centred on the following data sets:
Research infrastructures providing essential data:
This data is currently provided to MyOcean via different types of observing systems, such as Argo floats, research vessels, buoys, surface moored arrays, tide gauges and drifters, seabed observatories, regional and coastal observatories, long-range HF radar, CPR and coastal profilers. A large share of these observing systems are encompassed and funded by national governmental agencies and research organisations and contribute to regional collaboration in the framework of operational observing systems such as the Regional Ocean Observing Systems (the ROOSs).
European research dependent observation platforms identified by GISC
EuroArgo (below a description) is one of the core observing systems supporting the marine service, offering a unique global platform, it is not the only essential observing system. Thus, prioritisation is important and should be based on the determination of the impact of the different observing systems on the marine service performance. Such analyses would be a fundamental task of a future In Situ Data Coordinator in support of advanced statements on their respective importance and funding.
EuroSITES is co-funded by the European Commission and member states. It is the EC funding which make integration and enhancement of nine deep-ocean observatories in to coherent network possible. The network provides freely available data for model validation, especially biogeochemical data and long reference time series. A recent gap in funding for EuroSites caused loss of capacity and observations.
Other high priority in situ infrastructure for MyOcean
Drifting buoys for example from the global drifter array which provide validation of surface currents. E-SURFMAR is at present supporting a handful of moored buoys which are used to validate predictions from European shelf-seas and wave models. Other observation platforms, which deliver data categorised as desirable in-situ data for the marine service, include Everyone Gliding Observatory (EGO) and Gliders for Research Ocean Observation and Management (GROOM). Also the Global Ocean Surface Underway Data (GOSUD) and the Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP) are relevant in their capacity to meet marine in situ data needs.
A case study: EuroArgo Quick Win
This case study is as an example on how a European research infrastructure (RI) and its data centre can provide full and open access to essential in-situ data in support of Copernicus programme. The case study demonstrates approaches on how the observing infrastructure should be run and operated in a sustainable manner, and in equitable partnership between national and EU partners, which could lead to more sustainable funding regimes. While Member State contributions should and will in the future remain the main source of funding for the purchase and operation of EuroArgo, additional funding for operations is needed to sustain the European contribution to the global array. The Marine service needs access to continuous and reliable observations from the research infrastructure projects. In its capacity of in-situ coordination, the GISC team has prioritised the marine essential data sets and identified issues of sustainability peculiar to all research infrastructure projects, providing these data. The GISC project acted as facilitator in addressing these issues at the EU Commission level and also provided support in identifying some other EU funding mechanisms. Therefore, as result of the quick-win implementation process, the GISC project prepared an unsolicited proposal on procedural chain required to procure, deploy and process Argo floats.The report and its technical specifications could serve as basis for drafting a call for tender in support for the EuroArgo programme from the 2014-2020 budget under “physics” heading.
Preparing for an operational marine service.
The overview of the ‘in situ landscape’ for the marine service acquired by GISC to date has identified sustainability of in-situ observations to be critical for ensuring data continuity and hence it could be advisable that a funding strategy for different categories of in-situ observations is developed at EU-level. It appears to be critical that Copernicus in the future will support on-going research founded initiatives and facilitate moving them into the operational domain.
In developing a funding strategy, it is very important to keep focus on the whole picture:
If a Copernicus in-situ funding strategy cannot be developed, it may be necessary to accept a less-than-optimal service quality when essential observations are no longer available. Ultimately, this may cause such loss in quality that the service is no longer relevant for users and should be discontinued. It is also clear that the multi-purpose nature of the networks and observing systems calls for multi-source funding solutions balancing both MS contributions and different EC funding lines. Copernicus should therefore be considered part of the solution – not the only solution.
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