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Feeling the pulse of the Mediterranean Sea
25th October 2018
The Mediterranean Sea acts like a small scale ocean with strong air-sea heat and
water flux exchanges triggering intermediate and deep water mass formation, pumping
in the relatively fresh and warmer water from the Atlantic Ocean, churning it into
the characteristic along-basin thermohaline circulation, and transforming it in
a cooler and more saline outflow at the Strait of Gibraltar. These Mediterranean
basin scale processes are known to be critical to changes that influence weather
and climate in Europe.
The 2nd edition of the
COPERNICUS Marine Service Ocean State Report (OSR)
this week, provides information on changes and variations in the global oceans over
the past decades, with a focus on the European regional seas, and includes the
monitoring of inter-annual variations in the intensity of convection events in
four key areas of the Mediterranean Sea.
COPERNICUS, previously known as GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security),
is the European Programme for the establishment of a European capacity for Earth
Observation and Monitoring. It encompasses 3 components: SPACE, IN SITU and SERVICES.
The SERVICES component addresses 6 thematic areas, amongst which is the COPERNICUS
Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS).
By virtue of its track record in operational oceanography, its involvement in European
research networks, and, more recently, its role as the Maltese member in the COPERNICUS
Academy Network, the Physical Oceanography Research Group (PO.Res.Grp) endeavours
to act as a local broker to promote the uptake of CMEMS data by users in Malta and
beyond, primarily in the South Eastern Mediterranean countries. Led by Prof. Aldo
Drago, the PO.Res.Grp is also a direct user of CMEMS, especially to derive boundary
conditions for its meteo-marine forecasting numerical models, and for the delivery
of added value products and downstream services targeted to the local stakeholders
and coastal users.
CMEMS mainly provides data at the basin and regional scales. On the other hand,
local users require high resolution data products, especially for applications
close to the coast. The PO.Res.Grp is engaged in the integration and enhancement
of CMEMS data, with coastal scale observations and high resolution numerical model
fields as described above, to close the gap and to address the demands by coastal