EU Horizon 2020 project

A large scale EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation project contributing to the Trans-Atlantic Research Alliance and GEO.

62 Partners, 18 Countries

International integration of Atlantic ocean observing activities – further supporters / members are welcome.

Products for end-users

Offshore aquaculture siting

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production system in the world and one of the key sectors expected to expand under the EU Blue Growth initiative. Today, nearly all global aquaculture is carried out inshore. Competition for space (from multiple sectors) coupled with ecosystem health concerns are obstacles to future growth. Such drivers, at local and global level, incentivise aquaculture to move offshore to the unprotected waters of the open ocean.


NWS reanalysis and forecasting

The NW European Shelf Seas (NWS) are economically, environmentally and culturally important. There are statutory obligations to protect and manage the environmental quality of the NWS (Marine Strategic Framework Directive, MFSD) and its fisheries (Common Fisheries Policy, CFP). This requires an idea of the current and recent state of the NWS (monitoring). While observations are vital for this task, they are limited in time and space, and do not provide forecasts. The observation network can be augmented with marine reanalyses, which assimilate observations into numerical models of the NWS, keeping the model close to reality, and providing a complete estimate of the evolving state of the ocean. Improving the Atlantic Observing system through the AtlantOS project is expected to improve these reanalyses on the NWS.

Operational forecast system for Atlantic albacore tuna

Fisheries regulations, as those established by the European Commission need to rely on the best available scientific advice to ensure that fish stock exploitation levels remain sustainable over the long term. Fish population dynamic models are essential tools used to estimate fishing impact and provide key indicators of exploitation. Progress in fish population modelling integrating environmental variables derived from Earth Observation and Operational Oceanography (COPERNICUS CMEMS program makes it possible to propose a demonstration of a near real-time forecast of one key tuna stock in the Atlantic Ocean. AtlantOS T8.7 will develop a demonstrator for the albacore tuna to simulate in near real-time the change in abundance over time and space of this species by life stages (larvae, juveniles, adults).

Oil spill hazard mapping

Every year, millions of tons of oil are spilled in the global ocean due to accidental (large and infrequent) spill events and operational events (typically small and frequent) associated with the maritime traffic. Despite the impressive numbers of such events, we still ignore the potential coastal impacts due to oil spill pollution on a global scale limiting our capabilities of managing the hazard.

POGO-AtlantOS collaboration on ocean products

Ocean and shelf seas are pivotal to the future of humankind. Currently oceans provide roughly 20 % of the protein consumed by humans. The world GDP is mainly based on ocean economical aspects. Emerging and developing countries, with a huge need for ocean resources, play an ever-increasing role in defining ocean governance and science. Education founded on a well-managed mix of interests and needs in the field of oceanography and marine science is more imperative than ever in order to secure earths´ future oceans as a sustainable resource.

We aim to train ocean experts to address the sustainability of our global ocean, promoting excellence and moral sounding.

Ship routing hazard mapping

Following a severe downturn in trade since the 2008 financial crisis, bunker expenses (fuel and marine diesel oil) remain a major threat to container shipping freight rates (UNCTAD, 2013). Bunker expenses for liner shipping can easily range in the hundreds to thousands of US dollars per navigational journey, with a single transatlantic passage costing up to a million dollars. Thus, even minor deviations from the optimal time schedule can lead to appreciable economic savings or loses. To optimally plan such a long and expensive voyage, detailed knowledge of the ocean state forecast is crucial. Within AtlantOS Task 8.3, we will work to combine this information with state-of-the-art numerical path planning techniques to provide end-users maps of the optimal route for specific voyages. This will provide the sectorial end-users with a decisional tool that can help secure their business and thus support the EU maritime industry and its social policy (employment).

Harmful Algal Blooms

Aquaculture is an important marine food source and has positive impacts on the local economy of rural marine communities. However, as with all businesses, the marine aquaculture sector has challenges. One of the threats to the industry is the occurrence of harmful and potentially toxic phytoplankton – also known as HABs or harmful algal blooms. This is a recognised global problem, with yearly losses to fisheries and shellfisheries running into billions of Euros per annum; conservatively estimated at USA $ 95 million, Europe > € 800 million, Japan US $ 1 billion (Bernard et al. 2014). AtlantOS T8.1 will develop a weekly HAB bulletin for three study areas: Norway, Ireland and Spain.