The project has completed. Access to some data and metadata of chemical concentrations in European seas has been facilitated.
The EMODnet Chemical pilot has represented a great challenge. In fact, the main difficulties were related to: The complexity of the measurements covering 8 groups of parameters (pesticides, antifoulants, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals , hydrocarbons, radionuclides, fertilisers, organic matter) collected on 3 matrices (sediment, water column and biota); The geographic heterogeneity of the data distribution (coastal points time series Vs homogeneous sampling at basin level) and of measurement methods (instrument, method, target species, target basis, grain sizes).
To address the first point, data collection was approached with a priority list to proceed over successive steps, starting with a first release ready at the end of the first year (as a proof of concepts), a process that continued throughout the course of the project and the final release at the end of the project.
To address the second point, as highlighted during the Venice expert meeting (organised in September 2010) two main subsets of data products were identified depending upon the available data distribution:
- DIVA Standard Interpolated Maps, to be produced only for parameters with homogeneous distribution and suitable data coverage in time and space (measured on basin scale),
- Time series plots, to be produced for not homogeneous datasets as coastal points repeated in time and/or datasets with fragmented coverage.
In fact, it is clear that the use of DIVA standard interpolation is suitable only for the more “classic” sets of parameters measured in the water column. For the parameters measured in the other two matrices such as Biota and Sediment the spatial and temporal distribution of available data highlighted the need of a different commonly agreed analysis approach.
Also, great attention was put on the collection and management of data, providing the best metadata available describing for example: sediment fraction measured, dry/wet weights measurements, measurement methodology. This was considered fundamental in order to help a correct comparison between different data sets. The continuous update and upgrade of SDN common vocabularies was the helping tool to manage this.
A summary of the lessons learned during the three years of activities are: Source data are not always easily accessible, there is the need to improve data flow. This also for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive reporting needs; For some areas there is a huge work of data/metadata standardization from source datasets (heterogeneous formats, scarcity of metadata); The complexity of the measurements need to focus efforts on the collection of a wide metadata description and to continue with the adapting process of SeaDataNet adopted standards; The heterogeneity of the measurements highlighted the need to split subsets of homogeneous datasets to generate suitable products; The so called “exotic parameters” (contaminants) need an ad hoc QC protocol (no spikes, difficult to apply ranges); Products need to have an local group of experts for regular revision.