Coastal Ocean Observatory was promoted by the ICM-CSIC as response to the deficit of medium-long term research marine stations along the Spanish coast and, more specifically, along the Mediterranean coast.The duration of the research projects (usually 3 years) supposes a limitation for obtaining long-term series of data. For this reason, permanent marine stations are necessary to obtain high frequency oceanographic parameter measurements over a long time scale (decades), and so that these measurements can be independent of specific research projects. The Coastal Ocean Observatory (COO) is dedicated to the acquisition, management and visualization of oceanographic data. It was formerly the service "Estación marina" that was approved in the project of the new center in 2001. The new Strategic Plan of the ICM (2010-2014) restructured the former Station into the COO, integrating more activities and services. This data can be visualized through internet in real-time with the goal of contributing to the activities of the operational oceanography of the institute. The scientific equipment of the observatory includes a current meter (with temperature, salinity, turbulence, pressure, velocity and direction of water flow sensors), a EUMETSAT antenna, two video monitoring stations, a meteorological station and a small boat.
The observatory is expected to:
- Understand a typical coastal sea response both to natural forces and the effects of human activity. The COO site, provides and displays real-time data.
- Cover deficit of medium-long term researching marine stations along the Spanish coast and, more specifically, along the Mediterranean coast. Images are use to study the litoral dynamics at short and medium time scales, the storm impacts on the beaches, the tendencies of coastline evolution and the effect of human interventions on the beaches (artificial nourishments and construction of shore protection structures).
- Facilitate further regional studies of coastal processes by providing infrastructure to support easy access to electrical power and data.
- Contribute to the network of observatories and platforms for real-time observations to help to verify and improve ocean and atmospheric models.
- Real-time measure of different parameters of the coastal zone and systematic (monthly) surveys assessing environmental factors.
- Provide a local climatology for intensive, short duration field campaigns.
- Provide a reliable system of sensors that allow sampling of extreme events.
- Detect water masses with different characteristics and discharges coming from rivers or from the pluvial net of Barcelona, together with detecting and to following oil spills. All these hydrographical characteristics are closely related with the quality of coastal water and with the possible occurrence of algae blooms.
- In the future, provide continuous long term (25-30 years) observations for different types of studies, what means, build a long time series of data.