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A Web-Based Observatory for Biogeochemical Assessment in Coastal Regions
The concept of water observatories is extended to create a highly versatile tool for both the daily and the long-term management of estuarine ecosystems. Coastal observatories are evolving from simple data repositories to include forecasts, scenariosâ€™ analyses and indicators, integrated in web platforms that provide multiple products and services. In a context of climate change (CC) and growing anthropogenic pressures, the assessment of the ecological health implies that the biogeochemical status is adequately quantified and incorporated in the coastal management decision-making procedure. This quantification requires accurate models for hydrodynamics and ecology that account for all relevant processes at the right scales. These models must be applied in forecast mode for emergency purposes and in hindcast mode to explore multiple scenarios as part of the CC adaptation strategy, creating a complex, vast amount of information to be shared with the coastal managers. A web-based portal supported by a comprehensive modeling and forecasting framework and materialized along the main water quality/biogeochemistry themes, from data to indicators, is developed and demonstrated in two distinct yet complex coastal systems: the Tagus estuary and the Ria Formosa lagoon. The paper starts with the requirements analysis from both ecological and computer science perspectives and then presents the overall multi-layered architecture of the framework and its key software components. The observatory portal implementation and demonstration explore its usefulness for coastal management.
Keywords: biogeochemistry, numerical modeling, real-time data, forecast framework, web portal, information repository, estuaries and coasts, Tagus estuary, Ria Formosa
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