EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Monitoring and forecasting of marine pollution in the Mediterranean Sea: the ODYSSEA project approach

Katerina Spanoudaki1, Nikolaos Kokkos2, Konstantinos Zachopoulos2, Georgios Sylaios2, Nikolaos Kampanis1, Dave de Koning3, Lorinc Meszaros3,4, Sonja Wanke3, and Ghada El Serafy3,4
Katerina Spanoudaki et al.
  • 1Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics, Heraklion, Crete, Greece (
  • 2Lab of Ecological Engineering & Technology, Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece
  • 3Deltares, Environmental Hydrodynamics and Forecasting, The Netherlands
  • 4TU Delft, Applied Mathematics, Delft, The Netherlands

The H2020 funded project ODYSSEA ( aims to make Mediterranean marine data easily accessible and operational to a broad range of users of the marine space. ODYSSEA develops an interoperable and cost-effective platform, fully integrating networks of observing and forecasting systems across the Mediterranean basin, addressing both the open sea and the coastal zone. The platform integrates marine data from existing Earth Observing Systems, such as Copernicus and EMODnet, receives and processes novel, newly produced datasets (through high-resolution models and on-line sensors such as a novel microplastics sensor) from nine prototype Observatories established across the Mediterranean basin, and applies advanced algorithms to organise, homogenise and fuse the large quantities of data in order to provide to various end-user groups and stakeholders both primary data and on-demand derived data services.

The nine ODYSSEA Observatories are established across the whole Mediterranean basin, covering also areas of marine data gaps along the North African and Middle East coastline. The Observatories comprise observing and forecasting systems and cover coastal and shelf zone environments, Marine Protected Areas and areas with increased human pressure. The operational forecasting system of the Observatories consists of a ‘chain’ of dynamically coupled, high-resolution numerical models comprised of a) the hydrodynamic model Delft3D-FLOW, b) the wave model Delft3D-WAVE (SWAN), c) the water quality model DELWAQ, d) the oil spill fate and transport model MEDSLIK-II, e) the ecosystem model ECOPATH, and f) the in-house mussel farm model developed by the Democritus University of Thrace. This operational system provides forecasts, early warnings and alerts for currents, waves, water quality parameters, oil spill pollution and ecosystem status. In this work, the ODYSSEA forecasting system (developed with the Delft-FEWS software) is implemented for simulating oil spill pollution for the Thracian Sea Observatory.  The area is biodiversity rich and an important spawning and nursery ground for small pelagic species, while in Kavala Gulf, oil exploitation takes place. The Lagrangian oil spill model MEDSLIK-II has been coupled to high-resolution oceanographic fields (currents, temperature, Stokes drift velocity), produced by Delft3D-FLOW and SWAN, and NOAA GFS atmospheric forcing. The hydrodynamic and wave models have been configured for the Thracian Sea based on dynamic downscaling of CMEMS products to a grid resolution of 1/120°. Seasonal hazard maps (surface oil slick, beached oil) are produced employing multiple oil spill scenarios using multi-year hydrodynamics. The results highlight the hazard faced by Thracian Sea Observatory coasts. 

Acknowledgements: This research has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme ODYSSEA: OPERATING A NETWORK OF INTEGRATED OBSERVATORY SYSTEMS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA, GA No 72727.

How to cite: Spanoudaki, K., Kokkos, N., Zachopoulos, K., Sylaios, G., Kampanis, N., de Koning, D., Meszaros, L., Wanke, S., and El Serafy, G.: Monitoring and forecasting of marine pollution in the Mediterranean Sea: the ODYSSEA project approach, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-15191,, 2020.