27 May 2020

The ocean and coastal communities worldwide have been experiencing the impacts of climate change for years but, at the same time, the ocean can play a fundamental part in our response to this global challenge. This aspect has been highlighted by key campaigns such as the UN Decade of Ocean Science, and the European Union employed several measures as well. The European Commission brought together core issues related to both marine research and blue economy in the call for the “Future of Seas and Oceans Flagship Initiative”, which resulted in the funding of the Horizon 2020 project Blue-Cloud.

The five Blue-Cloud real-life demonstrators will showcase the potential of our project in a range of key areas for marine science and sustainability. The demonstrator “Marine Environmental Indicators” has a specific focus on data related to the marine environment, and is led by the CMCC Foundation, in collaboration with IFREMER, Mercator Ocean International, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), and the University of Bergen

This demonstrator will develop an online service with an associated cloud-based analytical computing framework and dedicated web interface. The initial focus will be on the Mediterranean Sea region.

The current landscape

Blue-Cloud will be building upon a wide range of existing resources and platforms, which at the moment are not always accessible in an efficient and fully integrated way, and sometimes indicators cannot be calculated online in a dynamic mode.

A website with a collection of the preliminary set of indicators was developed by CMCC and other partners, where a set of pre-calculated datasets and indicators are available.

The algorithm for the online calculation of some MSFD - Marine Quality Indicators were already tested in a cloud environment at a limited scale, as part of EU MELODIES Project. Machine learning-based algorithms are available and have been tested by IFREMER mainly on Argo float data.

The Blue-Cloud added-value

The online service developed through the demonstrator will feature a cloud-based analytical computing framework and a dedicated web interface to provide and display indicators and information on the environmental quality of the ocean. 

The system will be designed on the basis of requirements indicated by intermediate users such as environmental protection agencies and will be made accessible online by means of the Blue Cloud Virtual Lab, and also in the context of DIAS – WekEO.

A set of marine environmental indicators (data products) will be defined and produced interacting with selected users in the Mediterranean Sea region, including:

  • Environmental indicators such as Chl-a trends, TRIX, Chl-a statistical analysis, Mixing Indicator
  • Biological variables, e.g. plankton biomass and diversity
  • Ocean products: wave, currents, temperature, salinity, Chl-a, primary production.
  • Wind and atmospheric variables
  • Inorganic carbon indicators

For each indicator, an analysis and production workflow will be specified, developed, and tested,

applying big data analysis and machine learning methods on the multi-source data sets. The user interface will be developed to enable users to perform online and on-the-fly operations such as selecting a portion of the dataset for a specific area in horizontal and vertical, to perform statistical analysis (e.g. trends, anomalies) on the selected variable and portion of space and time, and to display these indicators by tables, map and graphics visualisations.

These are the Blue-Cloud data infrastructures involved in the demonstrator:

  • CMEMS and C3S (DIAS-WEkEO): ocean and climate variables
  • EMODnet: physics, biology, chemistry data
  • Euro-Argo and Argo GDAC: salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll data
  • ICOS-Marine: inorganic carbon data
  • SeaDataNet: physics, biogeochemistry, biology data

Data and products from existing services will be integrated into a unique online analysis and distribution service facilitating users to generate added-value data products and to perform extra analytics. This service will support European and international stakeholders in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and in the Blue Economy, responding to the urgent need for a flexible capacity to analyse the quality and characteristics of the marine environment on both regional and global scales.

Discover the Marine Environmental Indicators demonstrator