The goals and objectives of the North West Shelf Operational Oceanographic System are to:
- Design and start the implementation of an integrated observing and forecasting system, making use of already existing building blocks, common national projects, ongoing international projects like COPERNICUS (CMEMS) and EDIOS, and the working relations with EMODNET and SeaDataNet.
- Improve the quality of existing products by evaluation teams
- Couple the activities with the GOOS modules
- Establish working relations with international organisations like ICES, EEA, OSPAR, etc.
- Strengthen the co-operation with COPERNICUS, EMODNET and SeaDataNet
The North West European shelf region seas include all the shallow seas from Norway, round the Shetland Isles, Scotland, Ireland, the South West UK, and to southern Brittany.
This region consists of shallow seas forced by strong tides and winds. There is a complex interface with the Atlantic Ocean along a sinuous shelf edge from Portugal to Norway. The sea areas are amongst the busiest of the world, with intense marine traffic, and heavy loads of contaminants introduced by rivers. There is an increasing impact on the sea by highly developed fishing industries, as well as offshore and recreational activities. The North West shelf seas are bordered by technically developed countries with high population densities. There are numerous existing organisations, projects, treaties, and agreements on many aspects of observing, monitoring and regulating the state of these shallow seas. Optimum management of these seas depends absolutely on an adequate flow of real time data from in situ and space observations, and predictive models.