Coastal Ocean Observing and Forecasting System of the Balearic Islands (SOCIB)
Core Data
Hosting Legal Entity
Self-standing RI
Legal Status
Research organisation
Edifici NAORTE, 2a p 3ap, Parc Bit,, Palma de Mallorca, PO: 07121, Illes Balears (Spain)
Type Of RI
Mobile, Distributed, Single-sited
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 2014
Operational since 2014
Under construction since 2011 to 2013
Design/planning since 2009 to 2010
Scientific Description
Mission and objectives
SOCIB, the Balearic Islands Coastal Ocean Observing and Forecasting System is a Marine Research Infrastructure, a multi-platform ocean observing system that provides streams of data, added value products, and forecasting services from the coast to the open ocean. SOCIB supports open access to all its data in line with international recommendations and in particular with Euro-Argo ERIC -European Research Infrastructure Consortium-, which SOCIB joined in 2017. In so doing, SOCIB supports operational oceanography and contributes to establishing and understanding the services that the coastal ocean provides, yielding both ecological, societal and economic benefits. In line with EuroGOOS, operational oceanography is here understood in a wide sense, including both the systematic long-term measurements of the seas and their interpretation and dissemination, and also the sustained supply of multidisciplinary data and ocean forecasting capabilities to cover the needs of a wide range of scientific research and societal priorities. This will allow a quantitative increase in our understanding of key questions on oceans and climate change, coastal ocean processes, ocean health and ecosystem variability, sea level rise, etc. and will also drive us towards a more science based coastal and ocean management in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular with SDG#14.SOCIB responds to 3 drivers: scientific excellence, technological development and strategic societal priorities related to the role of the oceans and the coasts in a global climate change context, by this contributing to bridge the science-policy gap. SOCIB is a facility of facilities that has evolved, and continues to evolve, to promote the paradigm shift that has occurred in ocean observation and data availability: from the historical, single platform ship based observation with delayed mode data availability to the current multi-platform, integrated and multidisciplinary observing systems that supply opendata real time or quasi real time and quality controlled data and state of the art ocean forecasting. This type of Marine Research Infrastructures is being progressively implemented worldwide in oceans and seas. These new observing systems, such as IMOS (Australia), OOI and IOOS (USA) among others, provide sustained and reliable multidisciplinary ocean and coastal data that are available for science and society in quasi real time, by this delivering new insight into ocean variability. A detailed description of SOCIB, international framework and ongoing Strategic Plan are available at SOCIB web site.SOCIB operates a complex network of observing platforms for long-term monitoring of physical and some biogeochemical processes in the Western Mediterranean. The network of platforms includes surface drifters, profiling drifters, moorings, coastal stations, satellites, research vessel, high-frequency radar, autonomous underwater gliders, sea turtles, etc. all continuously recording multi-disciplinary data that are transmitted to SOCIB Data Center that makes them available for scientists and society. The data, scientific production, know-how, tools and products developed are a clear performance indicator of SOCIB achievements and innovations in a new era of ocean observation. As an extension to its scientific and operational activities, SOCIB also undertakes significant outreach activities providing visibility to SOCIB activities in the international framework of new ocean observing systems. As a result, the SOCIB Outreach Service promotes ocean literacy and raises awareness on the impact of new ocean observing systems on the advancement of knowledge, science based management and the preservation of marine and coastal resources.

RI Keywords
Sea level rise, Operational oceanography, Quasi real time quality controlled data availability, Buoys, Satellites, Ecosystem variability, Science based coastal and ocean management, Modelling services, HF radar, Marine and coastal research, Ships, Oceanographic data, ARGO profilers, Sustainability indicators, Coastal ocean processes, Autonomous underwater vehicles, Coastal and ocean management
RI Category
In situ Marine/Freshwater Observatories
Scientific Domain
Earth and Environmental Sciences
ESFRI Domain
HF radar data

Surface currents are identified as a high priority product for coastal ocean observing systems. Shore-based high-frequency (HF) radars that broadcast and then observe back-scattered radio signals from the oceans surface are now a mature technology that has been implemented and is routinely operating in numerous locations worldwide. One installation of a long range HF system with 2 radar stations is deployed at Ibiza Channel to monitor North/South fluxes exchange. Note that to have total currents measurements one needs to install 2 radar stations to combine the radial velocity currents, one in Ibiza and the other in Formentera.

R/V Catamaran data

A fast catamaran hull with overall length of approximately 24 m (less than 24 m registered LOA) has been constructed. Its design maximizes space, in terms of availability for scientific operations (wet and dry laboratories and an aft platform for one or two 10 foot containers) and accommodation for crew and scientists/technicians, whilst offering high speed capabilities and manoeuvrability. The flexibility of this modern design, in terms of space, speed, stability and layout, gives this vessel the ability to adapt to the goals of different projects making it a valuable tool for the scientific community of the region. The small crew requirements mean operations are at a minimal cost.

Glider data

Gliders allows the autonomous and sustained collection of CTD data and biogeochemical measurements (fluorescence, oxygen, etc) at high spatial resolutions (1 km) and at low costs compared to conventional methods. Novel studies carried out in the last 2 years in the Mediterranean Sea have confirmed the feasibility of using coastal and deep gliders to monitor the spatial and low frequency variability of the coastal ocean.

Moorings and met-ocean data

The SOCIB Fixed Station Facility (FSF) is an infrastructure composed of different fixed measurement networks aimed at providing routine point monitoring to scientists, environmental managers, public authorities, etc. The FSF produces long term time-series data of different parameters, both physical and biogeochemical. These data are then available through SOCIB’s Data Centre Facility to guide environmental policy decisions, support scientific research and validate and constrain forecast models.

Beach monitoring facility data

Beach Monitoring Facility products consist of real time data on beach images and weather variables, as well as periodic information on waves, sediments and beach morphology. Coastal systems are sensitive environments where many processes operate at different space-time scales acting nonlinearly. Understanding nearshore processes and the response of coastal systems at all these scales is increasingly important because beaches are the first barrier in front of coastal flooding and, also, because their economic and social relevance in terms of tourism economy and outdoor recreation. Additionally the increased threat of global warming and the resulting rise in sea level may accelerate coastal erosion problems.

Modelling, ocean forecast and analysis products

Our aim is to advance on the understanding of physical and multidisciplinary processes and their non linear interactions, to detect and quantify changes in coastal systems, to understand the mechanism that regulate them and to forecast their evolution and or adaptation under, for example, different IPCC scenarios. To achieve this goal, the Modeling and Forecasting facility will provide operational forecasting, hindcasting and monitoring of the western Mediterranean, and specifically coastal seas around the Balearic Islands. The SOCIB modeling platform will comprise: Circulation models, forecast ocean currents Weather modeling Ecosystem modeling, provide forecasts and analysis of the ecosystems Wave modeling, to forecast wave conditions globally and locally Satellite data with particular emphasis on development of coastal products.

Argo profilers buoys and surface drifters data

SOCIB mantains a sustained drifters program, in the framework of the Global Drifter Program (GDP), consisting on periodic deployments of SVP platforms to attend scientific needs. A popular use of the data will be surface currents mapping, distribution of eddy kinetic energy and dispersion of surface particles (such as fish larvae and other plankton and buoyant pollutants such as oil spills).


2 GLIDERS (underwater autonomous vehicles) for profound sampling and long autonomy, and 2 GLIDERS (underwater autonomous vehicles) for mesoscale studies.

R/V Catamaran (24m)
Pressure chamber
CTD profiler

CTD profiler for ocean data sampling.

Data center facility

The Data Centre is the core of SOCIB. Through it, SOCIB is developing and implementing a general data management system to guarantee international standards, quality assurance and inter-operability. The combination of different sources and types of information (time series, profiles, trajectories, grids/meshes, images, acoustic data, etc.) requires appropriate methods to ingest, catalogue, display and distribute this information. The general goal of the SOCIB Data Centre is to provide users with a system to locate and download the data of interest (near real time and delayed mode) and to visualize and manage the information. Following SOCIB principles, data need to be: 1) discoverable and accessible; 2) freely available; 3) interoperable and standardized.

MOKNESS humble sampling net

MOCNESS consists of a sturdy rectangular frame that carries sensors and controls anywhere from 6 to 20 nets. A research vessel tows MOCNESS at a crawl - 2 to 3 knots. The cable connecting ship and instrument also carries the data and allows scientists to control the instrument’s depth. MOCNESS can sample as deep as 6,000 meters (3.7 miles). Sensors report conductivity (salinity), temperature, depth, and chlorophyll, oxygen and light levels.

Additional Data
Access Type
Access Mode
Excellence Driven, Market Driven
Access Webpage
Users Definition
Teams of individual researchers
Network of Spanish Marine ICTS (Red de ICTS Marinas)
Mediterranean Operational Network for the Global Ocean Observing System