Challenges for Sustained Observing and Forecasting Systems in the Mediterranean Sea

Joaquín Tintoré, Nadia Pinardi, Enrique Álvarez-Fanjul, Eva Aguiar, Diego Álvarez-Berastegui, Marco Bajo, Rosa Balbin, Roberto Bozzano, Bruno Buongiorno Nardelli, Vanessa Cardin, Benjamin Casas, Miguel Charcos-Llorens, Jacopo Chiggiato, Emanuela Clementi, Giovanni Coppini, Laurent Coppola, Gianpiero Cossarini, Alan Deidun, Salud Deudero, Fabrizio D'OrtenzioAldo Drago, Massimiliano Drudi, Ghada El Serafy, Romain Escudier, Patrick Farcy, Ivan Federico, Juan Gabriel Fernández, Christian Ferrarin, Cristina Fossi, Constantin Frangoulis, Francois Galgani, Slim Gana, Jesús García Lafuente, Marcos García Sotillo, Pierre Garreau, Isaac Gertman, Lluis Gómez-Pujol, Alessandro Grandi, Daniel Hayes, Jaime Hernández-Lasheras, Barak Herut, Emma Heslop, Karim Hilmi, Melanie Juza, George Kallos, Gerasimos Korres, Rita Lecci, Paolo Lazzari, Pablo Lorente, Svitlana Liubartseva, Ferial Louanchi, Vlado Malacic, Gianandrea Mannarini, David March, Salvatore Marullo, Elena Mauri, Lorinc Meszaros, Baptiste Mourre, Laurent Mortier, Cristian Muñoz-Mas, Antonio Novellino, Dominique Obaton, Alejandro Orfila, Ananda Pascual, Sara Pensieri, Begoña Pérez Gómez, Susana Pérez Rubio, Leonidas Perivoliotis, George Petihakis, Loic Petit de la Villéon, Jenny Pistoia, Pierre Marie Poulain, Sylvie Pouliquen, Laura Prieto, Patrick Raimbault, Patricia Reglero, Emma Reyes, Paz Rotllan, Simón Ruiz, Javier Ruiz, Inmaculada Ruiz, Luis Francisco Ruiz-Orejón, Baris Salihoglu, Stefano Salon, Simone Sammartino, Agustín Sánchez Arcilla, Antonio Sánchez-Román, Gianmaria Sannino, Rosalia Santoleri, Rafael Sardá, Katrin Schroeder, Simona Simoncelli, Sarantis Sofianos, Georgios Sylaios, Toste Tanhua, Anna Teruzzi, Pierre Testor, Devrim Tezcan, Marc Torner, Francesco Trotta, Georg Umgiesser, Karina von Schuckmann, Giorgia Verri, Ivica Vilibic, Mustafa Yucel, Marco Zavatarelli, George Zodiatis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Mediterranean community represented in this paper is the result of more than 30 years of EU and nationally funded coordination, which has led to key contributions in science concepts and operational initiatives. Together with the establishment of operational services, the community has coordinated with universities, research centers, research infrastructures and private companies to implement advanced multi-platform and integrated observing and forecasting systems that facilitate the advancement of operational services, scientific achievements and mission-oriented innovation. Thus, the community can respond to societal challenges and stakeholders needs, developing a variety of fit-for-purpose services such as the Copernicus Marine Service. The combination of state-of-the-art observations and forecasting provides new opportunities for downstream services in response to the needs of the heavily populated Mediterranean coastal areas and to climate change. The challenge over the next decade is to sustain ocean observations within the research community, to monitor the variability at small scales, e.g., the mesoscale/submesoscale, to resolve the sub-basin/seasonal and inter-annual variability in the circulation, and thus establish the decadal variability, understand and correct the model-associated biases and to enhance model-data integration and ensemble forecasting for uncertainty estimation. Better knowledge and understanding of the level of Mediterranean variability will enable a subsequent evaluation of the impacts and mitigation of the effect of human activities and climate change on the biodiversity and the ecosystem, which will support environmental assessments and decisions. Further challenges include extending the science-based added-value products into societal relevant downstream services and engaging with communities to build initiatives that will contribute to the 2030 Agenda and more specifically to SDG14 and the UN's Decade of Ocean Science for sustainable development, by this contributing to bridge the science-policy gap. The Mediterranean observing and forecasting capacity was built on the basis of community best practices in monitoring and modeling, and can serve as a basis for the development of an integrated global ocean observing system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number568
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - 13 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge the collective effort of hundreds of scientists, at sea, laboratory, data and computing specialized technicians and engineers, students and ship's crew and captains involved in developing the existing Mediterranean observing, forecasting and data center infrastructures. We also would like to acknowledge the vision from the EC who established many years ago the key elements and the framework for the existing mentioned systems.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2019 Tintoré, Pinardi.


  • FAIR data
  • SDG's
  • climate
  • observing and forecasting systems
  • ocean variability
  • operational services
  • science with and for society
  • sustained observations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


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