Ocean Observatory

Measurement and monitoring systems

The location of the Canary Islands in the North Central Atlantic is a privileged position for the observation of oceanic processes of global and particular interest for Europe, long-term observation and their linkage to associated socio-economic processes. Processes in nature occur on different spatio-temporal scales. The oceans occupy 70% of the planet’s surface, so their influence on the global scale is critical. However, the level of knowledge and observational capacity of the seas and oceans, although substantially improved and increased in recent years, is still insufficient, so there is still a need to improve and extend the capacity to observe the ocean and its contribution to global processes. See Observatory Data Policy:

It includes a multidisciplinary and permanent array of autonomous ocean observation platforms for the observation of the marine environment. Observation systems and facilities support, among others, the environmental monitoring and characterisation needs of the Test Bed.

Coastal node:

  • HF Radar: allows monitoring of surface sea currents.
  • Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP): allows monitoring of currents and waves.
  • Hydrophones: allow the measurement of underwater noise.

Data visualisation portals:

Deep node:

  • European Time Series Oceanographic Station of the Canary Islands (ESTOC) located 60 nautical miles north of Gran Canaria and with a depth of 3,670 metres. This station is operational for the production of long-term meteorological and oceanographic time series in the central-eastern North Atlantic.
  • Data visualisation portals:

Data download portals:

Both nodes have equipment for measuring meteo-oceanic data.

  • Sensors on surface buoy:
    • Atmospheric sensors (temperature, humidity, ultrasonic and mechanical anemometers, pressure, PAR and GPS)
    • Marine sensors (temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, turbidity, pH and CO2).
  • Mooring line sensors at different depths:
    • CTD with dissolved oxygen
    • Fluorometer
    • ADCP
    • Nitrate sensor
    • Current meter
    • Hydrophone
    • Sediment trap
  • Communications infrastructure for data transmission
    • Argos 3
    • Iridium
    • Drifters (drifting buoys)
  • Data visualisation portals

The PLOCAN observatory is a node of EMSO (European Ocean Observation Infrastructure Network) and concentrates a large observing capacity:

  • The management of the ocean vehicle base (VIMAS)
  • Continuous monitoring and instrumentation of the test site (COASTAL Observatory)
  • The continuous deep-ocean observation for more than 20 years at the ESTOC station (OCEANIC Observatory)
  • The Macaronesia Maritime-Maritime Network (R3M), with oceanographic stations and buoy systems (ODAS and SEAMON) for real time measurements and the Data Centre.

They make it possible to concentrate, update and improve the quality, quantity, projection and usefulness of an integrated observation infrastructure. EMSO website:

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