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Mersea ocean Portal, Proof of an Integrated System

Frederique Blanc(1)

(1) CLS / Space Oceanography Division, 8-10 rue Hermes, 31526 Ramonville Saint Agne, France


Because of its high degree of maturity as well as the current operational status reached, satellite altimetry is currently one of the most important data sets to serve operational oceanography. But on the road to operational oceanography, the issue is just not a matter of satellite altimetry and covers also any ocean observation from space being remote sensing data or collected in situ data.

To allow the various systems to converge, the Europe through its GMES programme (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) launched an important project called Mersea Integrated Project ('Marine Environment and Security for the European Area') to develop its ocean component over the period 2004-2008. This project should lead to the setting up of a European Center for Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting (ECOMF) that will provide an integrated service for monitoring and forecasting the global and regional ocean.

Mersea project gathers about fifty European partners and the principal operational oceanography actors in Europe. Mersea system is envisioned as an operational network that covered three main areas: o In situ and satellite observing systems and provision of data directly useable by models (that is: quality controlled, low and high resolution data sets, real-time and delayed mode delivery + historical data base of key sea surface parameter estimates - sea surface height, sea surface temperature, ocean colour and sea ice -) o Monitoring and forecast systems coordinated to cover the global ocean and the oceans and seas surrounding Europe (North East Atlantic ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Baltic/north Sea, Arctic Ocean). o Products, applications and services demonstrations

To serve and communicate with such different thematic communities, the challenge for Mersea is, besides reaching the operational and reliable status, to set up a coherent strategy that will integrate marine data streams across disciplines, institutions, time scales, and geographic regions. It is essential to enable interoperability and allow a multi-disciplinary and integrated use. This strategy end up with what we called a data management, communication and distribution plan.

Mersea Ocean portal ( demonstrate the plan application and usefulness that is showing 1- how the Mersea Integrated System and its common operational unified framework is being set up, step by step, and 2 – the ending with operational activities including the visibility, understanding and exchange of reliable ocean data.

This plan is applicable to any system and the strategy is already well acknowledged and pushed forward in a lot of national, european and international programmes and projects (cf. Roadmap, Seadatanet, Godae, IOOS – DMAC, etc.). Not following such requirements, the various service systems will not be constrained enough to provide reliable and interoperable products and operational oceanography will end as a failure.


Full paper


                 Last modified: 07.10.03