EuroGOOS Operational Modelling Inventory in European Seas

The EuroGOOS Coastal Working Group delivered an overview and analysis of the operational modelling capacities in the European seas and recommendations for improvements. The study has been published in Frontiers in Marine Science Journal (see here). The analysis was based on the contributions from 49 organizations around Europe, representing more than 100 operational model systems simulating hydrodynamics and biogeochemistry in the European seas. The study highlights the strengths and weakness of the current capacities from an operational point of view and makes recommendations towards improvement of the European operational modelling services. 

The EuroGOOS Coastal Working Group proposes a set of recommendations to foster the marine and coastal operational modelling capacity in Europe, building on the ongoing integration efforts within the EuroGOOS Operational Oceanographic Systems (ROOS) and the broader EuroGOOS communities. 

The paper calls for better forcing, more data assimilation, and sharing standards in the European operational modelling. Modelling of biogeochemical phenomena needs to be improved to enable a proper monitoring of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD) indicators, and to support blue economy activities. Stronger collaboration between atmosphere, land, marine and social research communities is critical to homogenize and enhance the quality of operational products at those domains’ interfaces.

Data access and timeliness have been identified as a bottleneck for efficient data assimilation in operational modelling. The uptake of assimilation practices is also limited due to the lack of technical expertise. Capacity building, through training or allocation of additional human resources, is needed. Promotion of ocean modelling and data assimilation in early career scientist programmes, summer schools, national and European master programmes is advised.

Increased spatial resolution is another priority to improve the accuracy of operational modelling systems. But to increase spatial resolution can not effectively enhance simulation accuracy if this effort is not complemented with improvements of coastline, bathymetry, atmospheric, and land forcings in the models.

The paper recommends to systematically run large-angle capacity survey like the one conducted by the EuroGOOS Coastal Working Group, to keep the finger on the pulse of the evolving user needs and modelling capacities. EuroGOOS, through its Coastal Working Group, will envisage a regular update of the current survey.