First Regional Workshop

June 9-13, 2008, Athens, Greece

Observing System Requirements for Managing and Mitigating the Impacts of Human Activities and Coastal Inundation in the Mediterranean Region

Draft Workshop Plan


Specific Objectives of Workshop



Format and Outcome

Workshop Documents


Scope: The first regional workshop of the series will focus on the specific needs, challenges and capabilities in the Mediterranean region. The differences in needs and capabilities among the different countries in the Mediterranean, which is a small-scale analog of the situation that exists at the worldwide scale, making the Mediterranean an excellent (and more manageable) test case. The Workshop aims to enlist strong participation from the countries in northern Africa.

Coastal inundation will be the "glue" that allows treatment of all of the issues mentioned in the prospectus of the Workshop series. Socio-economic issues will remain important in this and subsequent regional workshops (perhaps most important for Africa). Human activities and their impact on susceptibility to coastal flooding is a key issue.

Specific objectives of the Workshop:

  • Compare scientifically sound scenarios for (1) time-space extent of coastal inundation and storm surge in the coastal zone and for impacts of coastal flooding on coastal (2) infrastructure, (3) human health risks (exposure to waterborne pathogens), (4) ecosystems (e.g., water quality, habitats, biodiversity), and (5) living resources (organisms and habitats).

  • Assess current observing system capacities for providing the data and information required to assess changes in susceptibility (risk and resilience) both temporally (annual to decadal scales) and spatially (100 meter to 1 kilometer resolution).

  • Increase awareness among coastal planners and managers of geospatial patterns of susceptibility and causes of changes in susceptibility, both short term (e.g., coastal engineering) and long term (e.g., changes in sea level).

Goals of a pre-workshop review of the needs and capabilities in the Mediterranean region:The capabilities in ocean observation and forecasting are fairly well-known, and it will be fairly easy to collect that information prior to the workshop with little effort. However, much less is known about the capabilities in decision-making and coastal zone management, in particular those aspects dealing with the terrestrial issues (runoff, sedimentation, groundwater?). A pre-workshop review of these issues can make an important regional contribution by serving as a vehicle to bring the land and ocean scientific and regulatory communities together.


  • Geospatial maps of risk and resilience with 1 km resolution for the Mediterranean region.

  • Guidelines (best practices) for assessing risk and changes in risk for coastal planners and managers.

  • Observing system requirements for the provision of data and information needed to quantify changes in susceptibility on appropriate time and space scales.

  • Pilot project designs, implementation of which will increase operational capabilities for the sustained provision of data and information on environmental changes across the land-sea interface that affect risk.

Workshop 1 Format and Outcome: Plenary sessions that focus on identifying and assessing the effectiveness of "best practices", including the policy infrastructure and decision-making processes that underpin those practices in regions with well developed coastal zone management capacities. The deliberations in these plenary sessions should provide guidance and charges for detailed breakout sessions toward developing an implementation plan to address user needs in the host region, with development of supporting pilot projects.

  • Day 1 highlights: Plenary that highlights the relevant observing needs and opportunities, summarizing the findings of a pre-workshop effort that will provide this user workshop with an initial list of potential phenomena of interest, variables and indicators, and existing observation capabilities, as well as identify the gaps in existing observing/modeling/decision-support systems. Also, invited speakers providing lessons learned on related existing coastal monitoring programs. Then guidance and charges given to the breakout groups. The breakout groups will be tasked to:
  • (1) prioritize the identified gaps as above, perhaps with a focus on different regions of the world, developed/undeveloped regions, etc.
  • (2) review, refine and advise as to coastal observing system and decision-support system adequacy and needs.

  • Day 2 highlights: Plenary with breakout group reports on coastal observing system and decision-support system adequacy and needs. Follow-on breakout discussions to further address the identified issues, as well as data management, integration, & communication in support of decision-making. These breakout sessions will develop the outlines of an observing and decision-support system that will fill the high-priority gaps, setting the stage for focused discussions on the design of the pilot CODAS and ICoDSS projects.

  • Day 3 highlights: Breakout sessions toward development of pilot projects and other means of implementation. Brief afternoon plenary reports from the breakout groups, followed by additional breakout session.

  • Day 4 highlights: Final breakout sessions on pilot project development followed by afternoon plenary reports from the breakout groups, ending with an executive summary of where we are and the way forward. Time will be allocated in the morning to initiate writing of the workshop report.

Workshop Documents: Workshop Final Report, Workshop Poster