WP 11



Work package number 11 Type of activity RTD
Work package title

Optimisation of ocean observing capability

Start month 1 End month 48
Lead partner 9


WP11 – Optimisation of ocean observing capability

The overall objective is research on the specification for an optimum observational network of FixO3 platforms, integrated and complemented by other platforms. This will optimise the development of multinational, multiplatform observing networks such as ICOS and EMSO.

We will do this research by using Observing System Sampling Experiments (OSSEs), i.e. at different time and space scales we will sub-sample selected parameters from mid- to high resolution models (creating Virtual Observing Networks, VON), recreating 3D fields of the parameters using neural networks (e.g. Telszewski
et al., 2009) and geo-statistics (e.g. Watson et al., 2009; Jones, 2013 University of East Anglia PhD thesis)

to assess the precision and accuracy of the obtained fields (e.g. Watson et al., 2009) based on the VON. Repeated OSSEs will give us a minimum and optimum VON, based on required uncertainties, such as ± 10 % for the air-sea flux of CO2. We will then evaluate the existing network’s platforms and parameters against the optimum VON, individually as well as by cross-calibration between platforms. The results will be publish including recommendations for improving the network.

We will

  • research to establish the structure of minimum and an optimum Virtual Observing Networks (VONs) to fully describe the carbon fluxes and related biogeochemical cycles (Task11.1);
  • qualitatively evaluate the current network of FixO3 platforms and the parameters measured against those of the VONs (Task11.2 and Task11.3);
  • qualitatively research the capacity of platform cross-calibrations to improve the observational network (Task11.4); and
  • publish the results and future scenario for the improvement and further integration of FixO3 observational network (Task11.5).

Scientific focus will be on carbon fluxes in the ocean, because of its importance to understanding key drivers of climate change and ocean acidification.

Vertically, we’ll carry out research from the sea surface to the sea floor, i.e. (i) the air-sea flux of CO2, (ii) export from the photic zone, (iii) sequestration to below the winter mixed layer, and (iv) exchange with the sea floor.

Platforms that will be considered besides FixO3 ones will include moorings, seabed observatories, research vessels, voluntary observing ships, Argo floats, gliders, and satellites.

Time and length scales of the platforms will be determined for key biogeochemical regimes that address individual issues related to the carbon cycle and its variability.

Due to its multidimensionality and multidisciplinarity, this work will build on the expertise developed and being developed in, and collaborate with participants in, e.g. EuroSITES (mid water column), ESONET (lower water column and sea floor), and CARBOCHANGE (sea surface and ocean interior carbon cycles), GEOBON, GROOM (autonomous glider infrastructure), and ESFRI infrastructures such as EMSO (lower water column and sea floor), ICOS (European carbon cycles), SIOS and LIFEWATCH.

This WP will produce a roadmap towards an optimum and integrated observational network of FixO3 platforms, complemented by all other platforms, identifying a vision to the future planning and improvement.

Besides the final publication of recommendations, the developed numerical techniques will be made publically available, aiding the re-evaluation of an observational network as scientific and technological advances are incorporated in such a network.

Description of work and role of partners

Description of work

T11.1: Researching minimum and optimum Virtual Observing Networks, VONs


We will research the structure of minimum and optimum VONs in 4-D to fully describe the carbon fluxes and related biogeochemical cycles. The VONs will sample from models most suitable to the individual scientific issues studied, over a period of up to ten years. The data from these “discrete observations” will then be tested using numerical techniques, such as neural network and geo-statistical approaches for near-surface data, to determine the precision and accuracy with which the carbon fluxes in each of the chosen regions of the full model in each model year can be reproduced. This will identify the resolution (in space) and frequency (in time) of measurements needed, and the (i) essential and (ii) desirable parameters required to be measured to address the various issues outlined.

T11.2: The quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the current network (platforms and parameters) against the VON


For a set of nested areas in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, we will evaluate the FixO3 and other observing platforms and parameters against the minimum and optimum VONs in Task 11.1. This will include the identification of the ‘spatial and temporal reach’ of each type of platform, i.e. the capability in of the platform(s) to address issues in 3-D space and over time. This will identify the future scenario of improving and further integrating the network. We will work closely with WP6, and compliment related efforts in other programmes and projects, such as ICOS and CARBOCHANGE, EuroSITES, ESONET and EMSO. We will be working closely with WP12, identifying sensors and technologies that can be used to improve the present observational network, and promote new developments. This will identify the future scenario of improving and further integrating the network.

T11.3: Qualitative evaluation of cross-calibration performance


We will research the quality of cross-calibration of FixO3 products with adjacent platforms. FixO3 platforms suitable for a cross-calibration with ship-based measurements are e.g. ESCTOC, PAP, DYFAMED, and the Polar Buoy. This will aid both the integration of a multi-platform observational network and strengthen the multidisciplinarity of FixO3.

T11.4: Final publication of recommendations


A document of recommendations for the design of optimal, 4-D, observational networks integrating eulerian observatories with other observational networks will be published. Any numerical techniques employed to reach these recommendations will be made publically available.

Person months per participant

Participant number Participant short name Person-month per participant
1 NERC 1.00
3 HCMR 9.00
5 UiB 6.50
9 UNEXE 8.00
16 CNRS 16.00
18 ULPGC 5.00
TOTAL 45.50

List of deliverables

Deliverable Number Deliverable Title Lead beneficiary number Estimated indicative person- months Nature Dissemination level Delivery date

Evaluation of optimum observational network

9 13.50 R PU 18

Evalution of actual observational network

5 9.50 R PU 36

Cross-over analysis of parameters between platforms

18 12.00 R PU 36
D11.4  Publication of optimum observational network 9 10.50 R PU 48
TOTAL 45.50

Description of deliverables

D11.1) Evaluation of optimum observational network: Initial evaluation of optimum integrated Virtual Observing Networks (VONs), for key regimes and processes ; final part of D11.4 (see below). The evaluation researches Observing System Sampling Experiments (OSSEs) to assess the precision and accuracy of differently sampled mid- to high-resolution models. We select different scenarios of platforms and parameters. [month 18]

D11.2) Evalution of actual observational network: Evaluation of platforms and measurements within observational networks; final part of D11.4 (see below). This evaluation will use the outcome from D11.1, and test it against the actuall structure of the FixO3 observational network. [month 36]

D11.3) Cross-over analysis of parameters between platforms: Cross-calibrations of measurements will be done between different platforms; final part of D11.4 (see below). The cross-calibration will research FixO3 products with adjacent platforms for selected parameters. [month 36]

D11.4) Publication of optimum observational network: A publication of optimum observational network and recommendations for future improvement and further integration of the observational network (M48). [month 48]

Schedule of relevant milestones

Milestone number Milestone name Lead beneficiary number Delivery date from Annex I Comments

Initial evaluation of the observational network

9 36

Relevant reports from workshops and WP4 outputs available on project website


Evaluation of the observational network complete

9 48