Physics text

Access to archived and real-time data on the physical conditions of European sea-basins and oceans is important for a wide range of users and for many different reasons; to monitor sea level variability, to make predictions on climate change or for the operation and planning of off-shore activities. Physical parameters include; sea water salinity and temperature, currents, turbidity, wind direction and speed, sea level and ice cover.

Data on the physical state of our sea basins and oceans are currently collected and stored by a myriad of public and private organisations throughout Europe, using fixed measuring stations (e.g. moored buoys, rigs/platforms, coastal stations) or automatic observatories at sea (e.g. profiling floats, drifting buoys, ferrybox, ships of opportunity, research vessels). However, until recently, there was no coordinated effort to assemble these data into integrated data streams and make them easily available for users at a pan-European scale.


Objectives of EMODnet Physics

The overall objective of EMODnet Physics is to provide access to archived and near real-time data on the physical conditions of European seas and oceans and to determine how well the data meets the needs of users from industry, public bodies and science.

Key Services provided by EMODnet Physics

The EMODNet Physics portal provides a combined array of services and functionalities to users for viewing and downloading data, meta-data and data products on the physical conditions of European sea basins and oceans. Currently the following key services and functionality are provided for users:

  1. Dynamic map facility for viewing and downloading: This provides the central tool for users to search, visualize and download data, metadata and products. For the near real-time (NRT) data the map facility allows viewing/retrieving, within a specified time (e.g. 60 days sliding window), measurement points, values of data and quality of data. The geographical area (space window) will define the area of interest within which the measurement points, values of data and quality of data are presented. For the previous 60 days a graph is provided with data availability over time. Information about the data originator, curator etc. is also provided. The tool also serves to visualize and retrieve data products such as time plots for specific parameters (e.g. monthly averaged temperature for data acquired during the specified time window).
  2. Dashboard reporting service: This allows users to view and export various statistics about the data portal content and usage. The EMODnet Physics dashboard represents a valuable tool to discover data availability and monitor performances of the infrastructure behind the portal. The tool also provides KPI (key performance indicators) presenting how much data and how many platforms are made available on a daily basis, as well as extract statistics on page access and data downloads etc.
  3. Machine-to-machine communication services: EMODnet Physics is developing interoperability services to facilitate machine-to-machine interaction and to provide further systems and services with European seas and ocean physical data and metadata. In particular EMODnet Physics is providing OCG compliant WMS and WFS layers offering information about which parameters are available from where, as well as information on the data originator etc. Furthermore EMODnet Physics is also providing SOAP-web services which allow linking of external services to the near real-time data stream and facilitate machine-to-machine data fetching and assimilation.


EMODnet Physics is founded on the three established pillars of the European oceanographic landscape, namely; the EuroGOOS-ROOSs (Regional Operational Oceanographic Systems), the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) and the SeaDataNet network of National Oceanographic Data Centres (NODCs). EMODnet Physics builds on the EMODnet Physics portal developed under the ur-EMODnet preparatory actions (EMODnet Phase I from 2009-2013) and will undergo significant improvement and expansion in the current phase II (see below 'Improvements in the current development phase').

Data Sources

Physical data sets are made available via EMODnet Physics through the collaborative efforts of EuroGOOS associates and their regional operational systems (ROOSs), the CMEMS in-situ TAC system and the SeaDataNet consortia. EMODnet Physics is fully integrated with, and complementary to, the marine core services of Copernicus marine service.

The EMODnet Physics portal will give access to two major data streams:

  1. Near real-time (NRT) data made available within 8 hours of acquisition, collected for operational needs at fixed measuring stations (e.g. moored buoys, rigs/platforms, coastal stations) and by automatic observatories at sea (e.g. profiling floats, drifting buoys, ferrybox, ships of opportunity, research vessels) and which are transmitted in near real-time to the shore;
  2. Archived data derived from further elaboration and validation of the near real-time (NRT) data.

The access to the NRT data stream is supported by the EuroGOOS-ROOSs and the CMEMS in-situ TAC system, whilst metadata discovery to the archived data is organised through the SeaDataNet infrastructure. The Coriolis infrastructure of Ifremer is also playing an important role in providing access to the supplementary data from Argo floats (EuroArgo).

EMODnet Physics data product development

EMODnet Physics are developing data products to enhance existing services, such as defining temporal and spatial windows for data viewing via a dynamic map facility, as well as providing new data products with application for Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) implementation, monitoring of sea level change and ice coverage.

Improvements in the current development Phase II (2013-2016)

EMODnet Physics builds on the EMODnet Physics portal developed during EMODnet Phase I (2009-2013). This phase will strengthen the existing structure and infrastructure of the EuroGOOS ROOSs as the backbone of EMODnet Physics and will improve and expand the data portal in order to:

  • Provide better access to additional data not yet in the current system;
  • Provide access to additional Ferrybox data;
  • Streamline and optimise the data flow;
  • Fully exploit opportunities to obtain additional parameters from existing data sites;
  • Fill in gaps in time series;
  • Assist the work on the completeness of stations, leading to a list of uniform station names that reduces duplication between ROOSs;
  • Achieve greater uptime of services and synchronisation of data sources between ROOSs and data centres.

Physical Parameters panelpic

Physics DataBox

Leading Partner

Total no. of Partners


Other contributors


Data available

Sea water temperature
Sea water salinity or density
Sea water currents

Sea level

Waves and winds

Light attenuation

Atmospheric parameters at sea level

Other features

Water column parameters
Sea basins
Data originators and providers
Boxing and search features

Machine-to-Machine Services


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