Ocean monitoring in Europe standardised in the MyOcean mega-project

For three years, SMHI and more than 60 other institutes will be working on the EU MyOcean project. The monitoring of all oceans from the Black Sea to the Barents Sea is to be combined and downscaled. "It will improve oceanographic forecasts, which will benefit all countries," says Bertil Håkansson of SMHI.

The EU MyOcean project began this year and will run until 2011. It focuses on several issues linked to ocean monitoring and concerns everything from weather forecasts, ice cover and climate change to safety, water quality and oil spills. In geographic terms MyOcean encompasses the oceans and seas around Europe, and the project involves more than 60 institutes across the continent.

"MyOcean was originally started because there were no data, forecasts and other information that the European institutes could all share. Both climate and environmental efforts require better basic data from the seas around Europe, particularly when it comes to realising EU policies and directives such as the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Maritime Policy," says Bertil Håkansson, who is managing SMHI's part of the project.

Better forecasts - free for all

MyOcean aims to produce basic services that are free of charge and accessible to all EU Member States, European environmental authorities and international organisations.

"The model and data co-operation will improve oceanographic forecasts for all the institutes. We will have access to better technology and more efficient procedures for making data available to our users," Bertil Håkansson continues.

One new component, in which SMHI is unique, is the fact that hydrological forecasts will be integrated into the oceanographic forecast systems. Hydrologists will contribute forecasts for inflows into the North Sea area from watercourses, rather than statistical information. Access to such prognoses for the Baltic Sea has been in place for several years.

Conference in October

In October SMHI and the Swedish National Space Board, the European Space Agency, EUMETSAT and the European Commission (EC/DG MARE) will be organising a conference on the theme of basic services in the Baltic Sea region as a model for how to work on the issue in the Arctic.

My Ocean website