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If you like your weather forecast, thank an oceanographer!

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

The EuroSea project

There is a need for society to have access to and understand ocean information, the ocean impacts us all, even though we might not be fully conscious of this. It impacts our weather, our seasons, we get livelihoods and food from the ocean, goods are transported on the ocean, and it is also important for security, to name only a few examples.

Currently, the systems we have are poorly set up to deliver the information needed by the different stakeholders, such as fisheries, aquaculture or decision makers. So there is a clear need to have sustained infrastructures which can deliver that crucial information. At the moment this is difficult to achieve since 70% of the observations done in the ocean are funded by short term projects

And this is the challenge that EuroSea, a Horizon 2020 innovation action, is addressing. And in our conversation with its coordinator, Toste Tanhua, we discover how EuroSea has been creating an Ocean observing and forecasting system in an international context, by setting up the basics for infrastructure and coordination of reports structures to have the relevant observation information available to those who need to access it, and this in a standardised manner. EuroSea also aims to have the resources to understand how biodiversity and marine ecosystems are impacted, especially by human activities. Another goal is to make sure everyone understands the importance of having ocean observation and information, as it impacts society in so many ways.

In the last three years, EuroSea has been busy building these required observing systems, setting up IMDOS, the Integrated Marine Debris Observing System and collaborating with EOOS, the European Ocean Observing System, with the hope that this will become the long-term body to govern ocean observing activities in Europe.

EuroSea has also been coordinating different platforms and their networks such as the Argo Floats, really important to understand the climate and for weather forecasting. And they have put lots of effort in coordinating different time series, the data or information collected over a long period of time, so that this information is accessible to those who can or need to use it.

Through EuroSea new products have been developed as demonstrators, such as the sea level insight tool which has been applied to Hull, a city in the United Kingdom. The model helps to predict and visualise the potential results of sea level rising and coastal inundation in different scenarios, down to specific street scales. This can be used by urban planners to optimise investments in preventive protective measures such as construction of dikes or relocation of population to safer places.

To know more about all these activities and much more on EuroSea, make sure to listen to the full podcast episode!

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