Coastal observation systems


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EU co-operation


The coastal areas of the North Sea and Baltic Sea are places of high biodiversity and form the basis of life for many people and animals. Man-made climate change and other factors such as nutrient inputs from agriculture are causing problems for the ecosystems. In order to monitor changes and adaptation processes in coastal waters, we are dependent on observation data over long periods of time. Autonomous measuring buoys, measuring nodes anchored to the seabed and regular trips with research vessels to time series stations are part of the monitoring networks in German coastal waters. The measured data forms the basis for modelling and forecasting. They can be used to take protective measures and determine trends.

The data is collected by various German research institutions and authorities, e.g. the Federal Maritime and Hydrological Agency (BSH). They operate their own observatories, but make the data freely and publicly available. Exchange and coordination between the institutes takes place via projects such as the Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas (COSYNA) or consortia such as the KDM Strategy Group on Coastal Observation Systems. Exchange with European international partners is also a priority and is often funded by the EU. Integrated programmes are used to coordinate individual and temporary observation projects on an interdisciplinary basis and over longer periods of time and to exchange best practices. The most important programmes include, for example, JERICO-RI.

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German coastal observation systems

The North Sea and Baltic Sea are unique habitats characterised by change. Long-term data from German coastal observatories make climate change visible and are an important component of coastal protection. They form the basis for interdisciplinary coastal research and marine protection. Learn more about the diverse forms and tasks of German coastal observation...


The following monitoring networks and coastal observation initiatives are managed by members of the strategy group on behalf of German research institutions and authorities.


The MARNET monitoring network is operated by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW). It comprises 9 autonomous measuring stations and 7 sea buoys in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. The stations provide high-resolution measurement data on various physical and biogeochemical parameters.


The Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas (COSYNA) combines observation activities of German institutes in the North Sea and Arctic. It consists of a large number of different observation systems on the sea surface and near the bottom. The data is combined with modelling and remote sensing data and made available in aggregated form. Processed data products are freely available to the public.

EU co-operation


JERICO-RI is a European project to improve the networking of coastal research infrastructure. Partners from 19 European countries have joined forces to establish a strategic coordination of over 500 platforms. The aim is to create a pan-European multi-platform from observatories to data infrastructure. The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre and MARUM are active in the project on the German side.


EuroGOOS is embedded in the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). EuroGOOS pools national observation activities at European level. Within the framework of the European Ocean Observing System (EOOS), networking and data exchange are bundled and aligned in a joint strategy. Among other things, EuroGOOS includes task forces that deal with the further development of various systems such as Ferry Boxes. Germany is represented by the Helmholtz Centre Hereon and the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).