Workshop on Suspended Particulate Matter Concentration

Participants of the SPM workshop at RBINS.
04/03/2016
Workshop on Suspended Particulate Matter Concentration
post by
Sigrid Maebe

On the 24th and 25th of February 2016, a workshop on best practice in generating long-term and large-scale observational data sets of suspended particulate matter concentration was held at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. These data sets are necessary to describe the state of the sea bed and therefor to reach a good environmental status of the ocean.  

About 30 scientists from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands gathered to discuss on how to collect high quality time-series of suspended particulate matter concentration (SPM) in estuaries, nearshore areas and shelf seas. The workshop was organised by Michael Fettweis (RBINS, OD Natural Environment) together with Rolf Riethmüller (Helmhotz Centre Geesthaacht, Institute of Coastal Research, Germany) and Romaric Verney (IFREMER, France) and fits in the framework of the BRAIN.BE project INDI67 funded by BELSPO. The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate indicators to monitor the Good Environmental Status of descriptors 6 (seafloor integrity) and 7 (hydrographic conditions) within EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

SPM concentration

The fine-grained sediments in estuaries, nearshore areas and shelf seas control bio-geochemical processes and have impact on the substances that tend to be adsorbed to them, such as pollutants and nutrients. eutrophication, algae blooms, evolution of pollutants, ephemeral sealing of the sea-floor by fluffy layers, benthic and pelagic ecosystems and siltation of navigation channels and harbours. Monitoring of SPM-concentration is important to understand these marine and estuarine ecosystems. However, in order to be useful, the monitoring must be accompanied by the context on how they have been measured, processed, analysed, and validated. Up till now no general accepted best practice in measuring SPM-concentration exists. The aim of the workshop was to discuss on normative approaches that are required to identify, capture, and track all details necessary to document the uncertainty and thus the scientific validity of these data. Uncertainty issues are important for scientists and decision-makers that have to evaluate, e.g., the Good Environmental Status of the European marine areas.

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