Balearic Islands Observing and Forecasting System

Short Name: SOCIB
Country: Spain


SOCIB – Consorcio Para El Diseno, Construccion, Equipamiento Y Explotacion Del Sistema De Observacion Costero De Las Illes Balears is the Balearic Islands Coastal Ocean Observing and Forecasting System (SOCIBS). It is a Marine Research Infrastructure; a multi-platform ocean observing system that provides streams of data and forecasting services that resolve coastal & regional ocean processes across a range of temporal and spatial scales, by this supporting operational oceanography and contributing to establish and understand the services that the coastal ocean provides and that yield both ecological and economic benefits. SOCIB activities

respond to 3 drivers: scientific excellence, technological development and strategic societal priorities related to the role of the oceans and the coasts in a global climate change context.
The RV SOCIB, a coastal/regional research catamaran is one of the key observing platforms operational since September 2012. SOCIB was recognized in October 2014 as a National Marine Research Infrastructure, included in the Spanish Large-Scale Infrastructures Network.

SOCIB is a facility of facilities that has evolved, and continues to evolve, to promote the paradigm shift that has occurred in ocean observation and data availability: from the historical, single platform ship based, observation with delayed mode data availability to the current multi-platform, integrated and multidisciplinary observing systems that supply real time or quasi real time and quality-controlled data and state of the art ocean forecasting.

SOCIB operates a complex network of observing platforms for long-term monitoring of physical and biogeochemical processes in the Western Mediterranean where the RV SOCIB is a key element. The network of platforms includes surface drifters, profiling drifters, moorings, coastal stations, satellites, research vessel, high-frequency radar, autonomous underwater gliders, sea turtles, etc, all continuously recording multi- disciplinary data that are transmitted to SOCIB Data Center that makes them available for scientists and society. The know-how, data, tools and products already developed are a clear performance indicator of SOCIB achievements and innovations in a new era of ocean observation.

SOCIB research experience: SOCIB activities also include developing state of the art research in the nearshore, coastal and open ocean, implementing new monitoring technologies and developing tools for science-based coastal and ocean management. Significant training, outreach and education activities are also carried out, bringing ocean data and ocean science concepts to classrooms and citizens, and contributing to bridge the science- policy gap. SOCIB is a key research infrastructure to guarantee healthy and sustainable oceans. SOCIB focuses on scientific excellence with relevance and impact on society, opening a new era of ocean observation; science with and for society.

SOCIB activity is developed by a dynamic team of approximately 39 people including international leading scientists, engineers, technicians, data experts and students. Since 2011 SOCIB team has published more than 110 papers in peer-reviewed international journals in areas such as: ocean physical & biogeochemical observation; meso and submesoscale ocean variability; ocean forecasting; new observing systems, tools for decision support & data management. SOCIB team is strongly involved in international marine and coastal research programmes, including open data initiatives, for example participating in EU initiatives and projects such as in recent years CMEMS, EMODnet MedSea-Checkpoint, PERSEUS, JERICO-NEXT or ODIP2, among others.

Significant infrastructures and/or major items of technical equipment: Major components include:

  • Observing Marine Infrastructure; a multi-platform integrated system for monitoring physical and biogeochemical data, from the coast to the open ocean in the Western Mediterranean including: a coastal/regional research vessel, underwater autonomous gliders, sea-turtles, surface drifters, vertical ARGO profilers, coastal and deep-sea moorings, coastal stations, HF radar, satellites, etc.

  • Ocean Forecasting Infrastructure: (a) high resolution numerical ocean forecasting models for currents from the coastal to open ocean, (b) high resolution wave forecasting in the coastal ocean and (c) coupled atmosphere-ocean meteo-tsunami forecasting system.

  • Data Centre/Cyber-infrastructure: the core of SOCIB that guarantees -real time or quasi real time and delayed mode- data archiving, processing, quality control, visualization and download from all platforms. All data are available for scientists and society.


SOCIB are also involved in WP2 Transnational Access.
Access to Research Vessels and related infrastructure: RV SOCIB [Regional].
SOCIB provides access to a regional/coastal research vessel and to autonomous underwater gliders as well to the well-established experience on integrating ship data with multi-platform observations.

SOCIB will also undertake activities in WP5 Stakeholder Engagement.

Modality of access: Users must apply via SOCIB’s website by completing a “Ship Time Template” in order to make a pre-reservation of the vessel. Once SOCIB receives this document, a first contact is made.

Support offered: Clients will be in charge of their own equipment since there is no technical support onboard during surveys.
Outreach to new users: To broadcast RV Socib to the scientific community and enterprises, a periodical mailing is sent from SOCIB headquarters since the beginning of its operations 5 years ago. In this mail, we introduce the boat and we give the website link for further information Other activities include presence in social media (Twitter) and annual Open Days.

Relevant Publications

  • Oguz T., Mourre B. and J. Tintoré (2017), Modulation of frontogenetic plankton production along a meandering jet by zonal wind forcing : an application to the Alboran Sea, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, July 2017. doi : 10.1002/2017JC012866

  • Pascual A., S. Ruiz, A. Olita, C. Troupin, M. Claret, B. Casas, B. Mourre, P.-M. Poulain, A. Tovar-Sanchez, A. Capet, E. Mason, J. Allen, A. Mahadevan and J. Tintoré (2017). A Multiplatform Experiment to Unravel Meso- and Submesoscale Processes in an Intense Front (AlborEx). Frontiers in Marine Science, 4, 39, doi:10.3389/fmars.2017.00039

  • Alvarez-Berastegui D., Hidalgo J.M., Tugores M.P., Aparicio A., Ciannelli L., Reglero P., Balbín R., Juza M., Mourre B., Pascual A., Lopez-Jurado J.L., García A., Rodriguez JM, Tintoré J., Alemany F. (2016). Pelagic seascape ecology for operational fisheries oceanography: modeling and predicting spawning distribution of Atlantic bluefin tuna in western Mediterranean. ICES Journal of Marine Science 73, 1851- 1862. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsw041.

  • Heslop, E., S. Ruiz, J. Allen, J.L. Lopez-Jurado, L. Renault, and J. Tintoré (2012) Autonomous underwater gliders monitoring variability at “choke points” in our ocean system: A case study. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L20604. doi: 10.1029/2012GL053717. 2012

  • Tintoré, J., G. Vizoso, B. Casas, S. Ruiz, E. Heslop, L. Renault, T. Oguz, B. Garau, A. Pascual, M. Martínez- Ledesma, L. Gómez-Pujol, A. Álvarez-Ellacuría, A. Orfila, F. Alemany, D. Álvarez-Berastegui, P. Reglero, E. Massuti, P. Vélez-Belchí, J. Ruiz, M. Gómez, E. Álvarez, M. Manriquez. (2013) : SOCIB; the Balearic Islands Observing and Forecasting System responding to science, technology and society needs. Marine Tech Soc. J. Vol 47, N. 1 pp 101-117. 2013. doi: 10.4031/MTSJ.47.1.10


Edificio Naorte. Bloque A, 2º piso, puerta 3, Parc Bit, 07122 Palma, Spain
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