Role of Physical Oceanography Research GroupThe COPERNICUS Marine Service mainly provides data at the basin and regional scales. On the other hand local users require high resolution data products, especially for applications close to the coast. A major effort is needed to close the gap between global/regional scale data provision and demands for coastal applications in the form of specialized added-value services and products targeting stakeholders in coastal remits. This entails the integration and enhancement of CMEMS data with coastal scale observations and high resolution numerical model fields.
In Malta several local users are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits deriving from the use of the CMEMS data to gain access to shelf scale baseline information, as well as serving to provide boundary conditions for downscaling to coastal applications. Key users include:
- Private and public entities involved in shipping and/or port facilities who require real-time data on meteorological and sea-state conditions and forecasts, especially for the areas in front of harbours for safety purposes and to maximise operational efficiency.
- The Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) require accurate meteo-marine hindcasts, nowcasts and forecasts for the different regions of the Maltese S&R area to be used in specialised applications such as that relating to the tracking of floating/drifting objects at sea.
- The Environment Resource Authority need information on baseline physico-chemical parameters in the area around the Maltese Islands to identify trends and background signals in relation to the health of coastal seas and the protection of the marine environment.
By virtue of its track record in operational oceanography, and its involvement in European research networks, the Physical Oceanography Research Group (PO-Res. Grp) within the Department of Geosciences at the University of Malta, engages both as a partner and direct user in Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) as well as an intermediate user and broker to promote, support and facilitate uptake of CMEMS data to local applications. Its main role is to act as a local broker to promote the application of the CMEMS to the benefit of Maltese users, as well as to make use and transform marine regional scale data into added value products and services at the local scale.
To this end the Malta CMEMS Service Platform was created to serve local users with online access to dedicated products and services derived from the CMEMS data. It targets to serve both specialised users, such as the local responsible entities (Armed Forces of Malta, Environment and Resources Authority, Transport Malta, Malta Meteorological Office and others), professional service providers and also the general public. The Malta CMEMS Service Platform builds on the platform that was set up locally during the MyOcean projects. The products and services provided on this platform are free of charge and cover the marine domain close to the Maltese Islands. Apart from near real time data, several applications require a historical reanalysis. Rather than receiving bunches of data, the common users have access to the information in a user-friendly system that allows the browsing, viewing, selection and extraction of information (such as statistical metrics) by direct elaboration online.
This Malta CMEMS Service Platform is precisely designed to allow users to view and synthesise data in both time and space windows by means of user-friendly web interfaces. It gives the users flexibility for multiple data viewing and for deriving first hand summary information without the need of actually downloading the data.
In particular, the Sea Surface Temperature and the Ocean Colour Dashboards comprise an interface that allows users to view in operational mode specific satellite and model CMEMS-derived statistics of key environmental parameters at five pre-defined coastal sub-areas around the Maltese Islands.