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Frontpage News 2012 Monitoring Portuguese oceans

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Ocean monitoring in Portugal

  • Norwegian and Portuguese researchers have deployed research buoys off the Portuguese coast to better forecast climate change and its effect on coastal populations.

    During a three year research project, a Norwegian-Portuguese research team set up a system for real-time monitoring and forecasting of the oceanographic and meterological conditions affecting offshore Nazaré, a fishing village of the west coast of Portugal.

    The Nazaré submarine canyon, where the research buoys are deployed, is one of the largest in the world.

    A network of measuring platforms is now installed both at sea and on the coast to transmit data on waves, water temperature and quality, and wind and atmospheric parameters. In addition, an oil-spill detection sensor now sends an alert in case of offshore pollution.

    As well as providing data to evaluate cliamte change more accurately, the monitoring helps local and national authorities to better define risk-mitigation strategies and handle potential accidents at sea.

    Both the fisheries and the tourism sectors can use this information to plan their activities and develop their business.

    The Instituto Hidrográfico, a Portuguese navy research institute, carried out the project in cooperation with SINTEF, a Norwegian research institution which was responsible for developing forecasting tools and contributed to the implementation of the system for forecasting oil spills. 

  • Country:


    Project title:

    MONICAN - MONItoring of the nazaré CANyon area

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Environment and sustainable development


    € 738,921



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project promoter:

    Instituto Hidrográfico

    Type of institution:

    National authority

    Project duration:

    34 months

    Project cost:

    € 961,385

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    25 June 2008

    The purpose of the Project is to increase the safety of activities and enhance the early warning detection capacity of natural hazards in the Nazare area with the overall objective to improve the capacity to predict the climate change and to improve the protection of the environment in Portugal. Reference is made to the application, dated 18 June 2007 and to any subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - implement the oceanographic in-situ network and purchase the necessary equipment;

    - develop and implement the real time monitoring system;

    - implement the model for ocean wave prediction and all adequate forecast models;

    - develop the direct links with end-users, develop and maintain the website and disseminate the information ;

    - management and publicity.

    The Project Promoter is the Institute Hidrografico.

    Subject to national law, the Project shall be implemented in partnership with the Municipality of Nazare in Portugal and the SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture AS, Norway.

    The Focal Point shall ensure that the Project Promoter provides at least 23.14 percent of the estimated eligible Project costs.