Integrated Approach – from Data to Information

COSYNA is a unique system that offers a new level of marine monitoring methods. COSYNA is a pre-operational system – in contrast to an experimental system. Its main characteristic is the integrated approach combining observations and numerical modelling in order to reliably deliver quality-controlled data as well as model predictions. It is used to answer scientific questions and to help inform political decision makers.

The observations comprise a variety of in situ techniques as well as remote sensing from shore by radar and from space by satellite. At the centre of the COSYNA observations is a standard package of sensors mounted on stationary and mobile platforms. Key physical, sedimentary, geochemical and biological parameters are observed at high temporal resolution in the water column and the upper and lower boundary layers.

COSYNA’s modelling part consists of nested models with different grid sizes for hydrography (salinity, waves, currents), for suspended matter and for biogeochemical and ecosystem processes. By using sophisticated data assimilation procedures, i.e. continuous corrections of the models by observations, the reliability of now-casts and short-term forecasts is improved substantially.

One important motivation for COSYNA is the continuous provision of near real-time and post-processed products, bridging the gap between operational oceanography and the various users of forecasts of the marine state. The data and plots are available through a data portal To further reach out to stakeholders and the wider community an app has been developed for the most common platforms.


An interactive COSYNA app provides short texts and pictures on the COSYNA measuring systems, models and products. A highlight is that users can access the near-real time data from the various stations with one click via internet. The app was developed and commissioned together with the Public Relations department at HZG.

This integrated approach provides a versatile tool for understanding and predicting processes and the state of the North Sea and the Arctic coasts. By providing infrastructure as well as various information products, COSYNA has immediate benefits for coastal management and for marine science: COSYNA’s components are not only available to and accessible by German research institutes, that already take significant responsibilities in setting-up, maintaining and working with individual components, but are also available to the worldwide science community. By bringing together the expertise of the main institutions (‘marine excellence poolʼ) COSYNA also plays an outstanding role in the integration of marine sciences in Germany.