European Commission Consultation
Marine Knowledge 2020: From seabed mapping to ocean forecasting
Role of research implementers in preparing a seamless multi-resolution digital map European waters by 2020
The European Marine Board fully supports the efforts of the European Commission to achieve a seamless multi‐resolution digital seabed map of European waters by 2020 which will have far‐reaching benefits across the wider marine and maritime community and society at large. There are key ways that the research community can contribute to achieve this flagship project through innovative application of science (e.g. habitat mapping) and developing state‐of‐the‐art technology for data collection and management. However, the multi‐dimensional mapping of the sea floor in high resolution is an operational exercise that could be carried out by national agencies responsible for seabed mapping (e.g. National Geological Surveys/Hydrographic Institutions) and/or the private sector involved in operational oceanography and surveys. Mobilization of multi‐stakeholder efforts is crucial so that the cost of this exercise does not compromize existing budgets for competitive innovative research (e.g. The Framework Programme funding mechanism). Whilst the seabed mapping may be implemented at a sea‐basin or regional seas level, coordination at a pan‐European scale is vital to ensure a standardized, high quality approach, and to ensure further cost savings by reducing duplication of effort.
Framework for an end-to-end European Ocean Observing System
The Joint Marine Board – EuroGOOS Vision Document on EMODNET (September 2008) called for “an end‐to‐end, integrated and inter‐operable network of systems of European marine observations and data communications, management and delivery systems…” Furthermore, the Ostend Declaration (October 2010) recognized the need and urgency for a “truly integrated, sustainably funded EOOS that can deliver comprehensive, open access and quality controlled marine environmental data, providing marine knowledge for research, industry and policy support (e.g. Marine Strategy Framework Directive).” Integrated, pan‐European data delivery centres and service providers such as EMODnet and GMES are a central component of achieving this. The European Marine Board supports the further development of EMODnet and GMES and related initiatives into their operational phases, driven by user needs. However, the Board also recognize the urgent need for a pan‐European integrated approach to ocean observation infrastructure and data collection and the need to consolidate, prioritize and sustain such activities. The European Marine Board therefore advocates for EMODnet and GMES to re‐consider the fully end‐to‐end system in its strategic planning, acknowledging the need to establish long‐term sustainability of the observation datasets (both in situ and satellite‐derived) that supply and underpin such data services. This could be achieved either through additional investments at a European level for the observing infrastructure, or through a mixed model of Member State and stakeholder commitment as ultimate users of such datasets, products and services. However, a joined‐up approach is paramount to ensure that key datasets from existing and future observing systems are not lost because of gaps in funding or a lack of strategic planning.
Next generation ocean observation will enable increasingly rapid and wide distribution of information (data, methods and products). However, real‐time delivery of large, multivariate data sets, with higher temporal and spatial resolution than ever before, will also demand a new approach to data stewardship from storage and open access, to integration and standardization. The European Marine Board highlights the need for initiatives such as EMODnet and GMES to engage with research sectors such as Information Communication Technology (ICT) to ensure data management of our seas and oceans utilizes state‐of‐the art technology and can evolve in line with technological advancements.
Ref: Joint Marine Board – EuroGOOS Vision Document on EMODNET (September 2008)
Ref: European Commission staff working document SEC (2009) 499 final ‘Building a European marine knowledge infrastructure: Roadmap for a European Marine Observation and Data Network – EMODNET.’
Ref: Ostend Declaration (October 2010)