COSYNA represents a unique device with a new quality of marine monitoring. As a spatially distributed instrument it will provide the necessary coverage to characterize highly dynamic, interconnected and heterogeneous environments. Its operational mode maintained over a longterm period will enable both, short-term forecast as well as trend scenarios. Data processing, analysis and assimilation into models are, thus, an integral part of the system. By providing infrastructures as well as various information products, COSYNA will have immediate benefits for coastal management and for marine science in Germany and Europe. The device is open for research institutes in Germany, which already take significant responsibilities in setting-up and maintaining individual components. However, COSYNA will also have a trans-boundary dimension already in its early development phase, aiming to support the establishment of a northwestern European system.
The basis of COSYNA is a common package of sensors at fixed and mobile platforms. Their position is optimized to cover strong recurring gradients across and along the residual main coastal current in the German Bight. Elements of the systems will also be tested in Arctic waters. Most of the North Sea platforms are either already in operation or will be built by offshore industry partners in near future. A new platform directly offshore the East Frisian Wadden Sea is part of the investment. Apart from three near-coast piles, sensor units will be installed on offshore platforms within windfarms, on ships-of–opportunity and on autonomous underwater vehicles. Key physical, sedimentary, geochemical and biological parameters will be monitored at high temporal resolution in the water column and at the upper and lower boundary layers. At selected sites, COSYNA includes new sensors for measuring profiles and fluxes at the water-atmosphere and at the sediment-water interface. Investments for hard- and software (data centre) are essential for the integrated monitoring and modelling system since they enable the processing of information, its storage, analysis, visualisation, assimilation into models, and communication of results.
COSYNA will complement the HGF Infrastructure of the Earth and Environment Program PACES (Polar and Coastal Changes in the Earth System) and will strengthen our expertise in the internationally growing field of operational oceanography, both in the coastal North Sea and in Arctic waters. COSYNA allows addressing burning current questions of science and management such as the ongoing response to ocean warming and acidification or the evolution of coastal morphological due to transport of sediments. And alike other long-term observatories its major value will become most evident in the forthcoming decades.
The principal goal of the COSYNA-Project is the construction of a long-term observatory for the German part of the North Sea.
Elements of the observatory should also be deployed as prototype modules in arctic coastal waters. This is expected to strengthen and bundle expertise and infrastructural equipment existing at the two Helmholtz Association centres GKSS and AWI with expertise available within the consortium of German marine research (KDM) in order to create a centrally managed, operational, large-scale monitoring and modelling system.
By providing knowledge as well as hardware, the system will, in addition, enable future research projects pursued by individual partners within the consortium. In cooperation and agreement with the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), GKSS seeks to pinpoint the German role in the international development of marine monitoring and long-term observational strategies. As a nationally funded project COSYNA is aimed to link to European partners.
The COSYNA-Project is realised within two steps:
Step 1: Building and testing of near-coastal stations (existing and new ones) in the inner German Bight and the Wadden Sea and first applications of models and data assimilation. This step is realised within the knowledge-induced investment "ICON = Integrated Coastal Observation Network North Sea").
Step 2: Expanding the ICON-System towards offshore regions of the North Sea to build an integrated observing and modelling system togther with different scientific partners from KDM and monitoring agencies.