Copernicus Marine Ocean State Report 4 Summary

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OCEAN STATE REPORT (4) SUMMARY

MONITORING THE OCEAN WITH COPERNICUS MARINE New information and methods presented in the fourth issue of the Ocean State Report.

MONITORING TROPICAL STORMS

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

HOW CAN THE NEW TOOL HELP?

Tropical Cyclones rank among the most devastating natural hazards. Tropical storms can wreak havoc for coastal communities and island states and with staggering social, economic and environmental impacts. As our climate changes, extreme weather is occurring more frequently, lasting longer, and becoming more severe. Consequently, better monitoring and forecasting of these storms are key tools for policymakers taking preventive, life-saving, and reconstructive measures. Despite their destructive potential, predicting the intensity, paths and evolution of tropical storms is still challenging, due to various unknown and unmonitored environmental factors, including interactions with the ocean interior.

The Copernicus Marine Ocean State Report 4 demonstrates how the combined use of models, in situ measurements, and satellite data can provide unique information to analyse and monitor tropical cyclones. Measurements of the subsurface layer from a range of profiling floats, models, and satellite data allow the upper ocean’s response to tropical storms to be efficiently captured and monitored.

PREDICTING HIGH WAVES

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

HOW CAN THE NEW TOOL HELP?

Reliable prediction of the largest waves during a storm event has always been foremost for offshore platform design, coastal activities, and navigation. Many severe accidents and casualties at sea have been most probably ascribed to abnormal and unexpected waves. Activities such as offshore wind power, port management, and coastal recreation require information about the sea state with high resolution in both space and time. High-quality predictions of extreme events caused by storms could substantially contribute to avoiding or minimising damage to humans and equipment. This makes reliable wave forecasts and long-term observations of utmost importance.

The Black Sea is a European sea which lacks long-term wave measurements from traditional in situ wave-riding buoys. The only available long-term observational data comes from Copernicus satellite observations. By combining these observations with wave forecasting models, researchers can assess the predictability of high waves and demonstrate the variability of significant wave height in the Western Black Sea.

MONITORING EUTROPHICATION

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

HOW CAN THE NEW TOOL HELP?

European coastal areas are commercially important for fishing and tourism yet are subject to the increasingly adverse effects of eutrophication. Eutrophication occurs when agricultural run-off and other nutrient-containing pollutants are flushed into the ocean, leading to a runaway growth of algae and phytoplankton on the surface. These overwhelming blooms consume excessive amounts of oxygen through the decomposition of dead organic matter, block sunlight, and reduce water quality. Eutrophication is devastating for ocean ecosystems and can leave some zones almost lifeless. This was first recognised as a problem in Europe in the 1960s and reached damaging proportions by the 1980s.

Reducing the outflow of nutrients from rivers to the ocean is an important method to counteract the harmful effects of eutrophication. For countries bordering the North Sea, reducing nutrient outflow from rivers relies on a central set of procedures to assess eutrophication. Combining existing in situ measurements with satellite observations has the potential to enhance these assessment procedures.

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