Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


Eighth meeting of Marine Observation and Data Expert Group

Event date:
23/02/2010 - 14:30 to 24/02/2010 - 13:00
Table of Contents
    MODEG members MODEG Members excused Guests Commission Services
    Colpan Beken
    Antonio Bode
    Jean-François Bourillet,
    Hans Dahlin (chairman)
    Yann-Hervé De Roeck
    Robert Gatliff,
    Lars Hansen
    Remi Laane
    François Le Corre
    Ilaria Nardello,
    Lesley Rickards,
    Dick Schaap,
    Henry Vallius
    Christopher Zimmerman
    Frederique Blanc
    Peter Burkill
    Neil Holdsworth
    Ralph Rayner,
    Anastasios Tselepidis
    Jean-Marie Beckers
    Frank Oliver Glöckner
    Rudy Herman
    Kate Larkin
    Maureen Pagnani,
    Vittorio Barale
    Jan Ekebo
    Pascal Le Grand
    Eric Honoré
    Herwig Ranner
    Ana Ruiz
    Mikko Strahlendorff
    Anne-France Woestyn


    The following participated in the eighth meeting of the Marine Observation and Data Expert Group on 23 and 24 February 2010


    European Atlas of the Seas (presentation)

    The Commission presented current developments of the on-line European Atlas of the Seas which is planned for release in April 2010 and enhancement afterwards. MODEG were supportive of the initiative and appreciative of the user-friendly interface. Interest was expressed in recent fish quota information, environmental indicators and average sea-ice.

    In answer to questions the Commission replied:

    1. Priority would be given to layers where a complete European coverage was available. We have good data on oil and gas installations in the North Sea but not elsewhere
    2. The technology respects open standards so could accept layers hosted on other servers
    3. The primary objective is to present information in maps rather than data for downloading. The data in general are obtained from bodies such as Eurostat and those wishing to analyse the data should obtain it from the original source.
    4. Data for the first version has been obtained free of charge but payments for later versions is not excluded.
    5. The layers will be updated at an interval of between 3 and 6 months.
    6. The projection might be improved. The Baltic looks as large as the Mediterranean
    7. River drainage basins will be included in the first release of the Atlas
    8. A facility to print screens will not be available in the first version but certainly will be afterwards.
    9. The coverage is focused on seas-basins adjacent to EU Member States. This would also include their territories overseas where they are part of the EU –Madeira, Canaries, Guadeloupe etc
    10. Economic Zone limits would not be included as there is no universally agreed set for European waters. But some MODEG members still thought that including this information would allow citizens a first overview of the marine area of their country. The disputed boundaries are known by the States involved. Of course the EU does not have a role in choosing between competing claims. However disputed areas, such as the one between Spain and France, could be shown as such.

    Marine Genomics (presentation)

    Frank Oliver Glöckner presented progress in marine genomics. He pointed out that many DNA sequences of marine organism have already been mapped and that new technologies will rapidly increase the worldwide inventory of sequences.

    The challenge will be to ensure that these data are available for use. Work is underway to ensure common standards but many data already collected are unusable because they cannot be associated with the relevant temporal, geographical (longitude, latitude) and environmental conditions (temperature, water depth etc).

    Glöckner said that real-time sequencing of micro-organisms in ocean buoys would be technically possible within a few years and we need standards to link information on genes, organisms and environment before then and to place this information in repositories where it can be accessed by those who need it.

    Data-Interpolating Variational Analysis (DIVA)

    The DIVA software was presented by Jean-Marie Beckers. It was written in Fortran for producing contiguous map layers showing the spatial variation of parameters obtained from discrete sampling points. It does this by dividing the area into triangular finite elements and minimizes the error between observed and modeled variables. It is able to produce error estimates and identify outliers. A crucial input parameter is the length scale or the radius of the circle of influence of a measurement. Users are generally very happy with the software but there is some demand to generalize to 3 or 4 dimensional analysis. This would require a complete reprogramming.

    Eurosites (presentation)

    The EuroSITES project was explained by Kate Larkin and Maureen Pagnani. The aim of the network is to integrate and enhance 9 existing deep ocean fixed point measuring stations across Europe. EuroSITES is the European component to the OceanSITES international network. Consequently the EuroSITES project outputs data as open access in OceanSITES format. The data standards are aligned with the INSPIRE directive and the project is contributing to GOOS as the ocean component of GEO.

    The main advantage is the very high frequency of observation that allows both short-term and longer-term trends and processes to be analysed. Episodic events and fast-moving transients can be captured. A comparison with Seawifs satellite measurements of chlorophyll concentration generated some discussion.

    It highlighted the challenges of understanding the distribution of a parameter from of in situ fixed-point measurements but also the need for a multi-scale ocean observing at appropriate temporal and spatial scales using complementary platforms (e.g. remote sensing and in situ techniques).

    EuroSITES is developing its links with the modeling community contributing daily near real-time datasets of physical (temperature and salinity) variables to the GTS system. In the future this will also include biogeochemical datasets.

    Marine Knowledge Communication (presentation from DG-MARE)

    The Commission aims to adopt two proposals in April this year.

    1. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Marine Knowledge 2020 which describes the challenges and how the EU is aiming to improve matters through initiatives such as EMODnet, GMES and the Data Collection Framework
    2. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the establishment of a programme to support the Integrated Maritime Policy which should propose a financing for period 2011-2013 including follow-up of the preparatory actions to improve and complete EMODnet layers.

    DG-MARE indicated that these actions could be financed by procurements or grants. Direct grants without a call for tender can only be awarded in exceptional conditions – for instance if there is a real monopoly. There do not appear to be any monopolies in the provision of marine data, except possibly in geology, where national geological surveys hold national archives .

    The governance of EMODnet requires:

    1. a decision making process. The Commission, on the basis of advice from Member States, from sea-basin checkpoints and its own experts will continue to define priorities for assembling data in ur-EMODnet but in the period 2011-2013 will develop a proposal for a more permanent governance.
    2. administration. The Commission aims to set up a prototype secretariat to manage the ur-EMODnet process - preparing meetings, managing contracts with the disciplinary assembly groups and sea-basin checkpoints, ensuring deadlines are met and preparing an annual report of activity.

    There were three suggestions for the secretariat

    1. The European Environment Agency.
    2. At the InnovOcean site in Ostend alongside the European Science Foundation Marine Board, UNESCO's IOC project office and possibly, in the future, EUROGOOS with the building facilities to be offered by the Belgian government (presentation)
    3. A rotation between marine institutes every three years– like EUROGOOS.

    Most MODEG members thought that the secretariat ought to be a bottom-up exercise administered by the data providers rather than the data users and that the data users should be represented, along with other users, in the decision making process. DG-MARE said that they were considering options and would welcome further input.


    DG-MARE to warn MODEG in advance of any call for renewal of membership

    MODEG members to provide suggestions for a secretariat

    Next meetings

    25-26 May 2010, Copenhagen

    28-29 September 2010, Brussels