GMES to be complemented by undersea laboratories
The ESONET (‘European seas observatory network’) project, funded in 2007 by the 6th Framework Programme (FP6) with a budget of EUR 7 million, has the primary goal to create a network of ocean observatories in deep waters around Europe (from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea) in order to constantly record different types of data for better understanding of oceanic phenomena and for providing warnings of natural hazards such as slides, earthquakes and tsunamis. The observatories should be connected to the shore with data and power links via fibre optic cables.
In the framework of the ESONET project, researchers have been recently looking into building such observatories for monitoring underwater seismic activity in the Sea of Marmara, which connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean south of Istanbul, Turkey. The researchers will try to determine a possible link between seismicity and fluid expulsion along the North-Anatolian Fault (running through the Sea of Marmara), which is sadly known by the several earthquakes that occurred there previously.
Although the implementation of the undersea laboratories is still in its beginning stages, they will be a segment of GMES and GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) initiatives and will thus contribute to the provision of information on global change, natural hazards and sustainable management of the European Seas.