United Nations
Environmental forecasting of the ocean: development of advanced predictive tools that combine numerical models and ocean observations (satellite and in-situ).
by Liege University (Academic institution)
Monitoring and forecasting the ocean synoptically in space and time is an increasingly important challenge faced by oceanographers. These last decades, the marine environment has been threatened by many anthropogenic pressures (e.g. pollution, intensive fishing and aquaculture, coastal erosion and dredging activities, ocean energy, touristic exploitation, oil spill), combined with climate change, that have now put at risk the integrity and the Good Environmental Status (GES) of our seas as well as their capacity to sustain blue growth. The protection, environmental and economical sustainable exploitation of the marine environment further calls for increased surveillance of the oceans and the development of advanced predictive tools.

These recent years a new paradigm in ocean observations emerges with the advent of networked robotic platforms such as autonomous underwater vehicles, floaters, drifters providing a wealth of information that needs to be digested, interpreted and integrated in modelling and data analysis tools. On the other hand, satellites have become an indispensable component of ocean surveillance given their capability to monitor on regional and global scales. An explosive growth of small satellites is expected to occur with very promising perspectives especially for the monitoring of the coastal ocean.

In parallel, our ocean modeling capabilities have been boosted and improved thanks to this new information and computing resources.

The Marine Copernicus (CMEMS) program offers an operational monitoring of the ocean and provides ocean products available in open access to a wide community of end-users. The Lige University is part of CMEMS for the provision of systematic information about the biogeochemical state of the Black sea. The whole consortium (BS-MFC) provides modelling data for the physics (i.e. currents, temperature, salinity, sea level), biogeochemistry (chlorophyll, phytoplankton biomass, primary production, nitrate, phosphate and oxygen) and waves for the current situation, forecasts of the situation over a few days (10 days) in advance and the provision of retrospective data records for several decades (reanalysis).

The approach is composed of four main activity blocks: 1) interfaces with the external data providers; 2) processing of information by the numerical models and the data assimilation systems and quality control of the information produced; 3) dissemination and archiving, together with the local Service Desk and 4) cross-cutting activities such as communication and training.

Each year, an Ocean State report is produced by CMEMS that highlights the long term evolution (i.e. several decades) of the different areas (e.g. the Global Ocean, the Baltic, North, Black and Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean).

Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
Forecasts and reanalysis of the Black sea state
Improved products (e.g. integration in models of Sentinel data, new products)
Financing (in USD)
1,200,000 USD
Basic information
Time-frame: 2016 April - 2018 April
Liege University (Academia) CMCC HZG IO-BAS U-SOFIA Istanbul University
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Italy Germany Bulgaria Turkey
Contact information
Marilaure Gregoire, Directeur de recherches , mgregoire@ulg.ac.be,
B5a Sart-tilman, 4000 Liege Belgium
Other SDGs
United Nations