(updated 13/07/2022)

Drifting objects database

Here you will find a compilation of trajectories of drifters and drifting objects passing nearby the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula and inside the Mediterranean basin. Drifters selection has been based on the criteria of being deployed, picked-up or with a trajectory intersecting the region shown in the figure.

A total of about 1700 trajectories has been compiled from the following data sources:

Thus data come from several sources and collaboration with several institutions. In terms of formats and structure, data sets have been uniformized based on the COSMO 1.5 conventions (Gacía-Ladona et al., 2019) which basically implements a geojson format containing data and metada. Some primary quality control has been performed but still errors could be present.

Then data has been organized into a PostgreS/postGIS database engine for archiving purposes and to facilitate the visualization capabilities of these pages.

If you want to collaborate/contribute o report any error or comment, please don't hesitate to contact us:

Emili García Ladona (emilio arroba
Justino Martínez (justino arroba
Sergio González (sergio.gm93 arroba
Joaquim Ballabrera (joaquim arroba
Aina Garcia (ainagarcia arroba
Lumpkin, R. and L. Centurioni (2019). NOAA Global Drifter Program quality-controlled 6-hour interpolated data from ocean surface drifting buoys. [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Dataset.

García-Ladona E., J.M. Allegue, J. Ballabrera-Poy, F. Pérez (2022): Specifications of data exchange formats relative to lagrangian observations, Technical Report, 28 pp. (English version, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.14287.36005, Spanish version, DOI: S10.13140/RG.2.2.30493.23525
06/2019: First version. Spatial extent covering the COSMO domain.
12/2020: Thanks to MEDOSMOSIS project, the initial COSMO domain has been extended to include the whole Mediterranean basin (COSMOSIS domain)
Atlas of Climatological Currents

As part of the WP3 tasks, an Atlas of surface and subsurface currents has been developed based on the state of the art products released by CMEMS services. This is a continuation of the work started in the Spanish COSMO project by extending the spatial domain to include the whole Mediterranean basin. You can browse and visualize the characteristics of climatological eulerian currents separately for the Atlantic side of the Iberian Peninsula (Canary-Iberian-Biscay region) and for the whole Mediterranean basin. Both products domains are shown separately because their characteristics are not equivalent. On one hand the currents of the Atlantic basin are total surface currents including the Ekman component. On the other hand, for the Mediterranean basin the products are absolute geostrophic currents derived from satellite altimetry so in particular no wind impact is included and the MEDSEA reanalysis from Copernicus.

Here below are the main aspects to consider for both products:

The spread of bivariate data is characterized by its covariance matrix. The data can be encircled in ellipses whose axis coincides with the direction of maximum variance of the data. In this Atlas, the variance ellipses corresponding to one, two, and three standard deviations (σ) are shown for each point. For normal distributions, these ellipses encircle respectively the 68.28% (σ), 95.45% (2σ) and 99.73% (3σ) of the data. Together with the variance ellipses the true heading (TH) and magnitude of the mean and the median are shown.

Rio M.-H., Mulet S. and N. Picot (2014). Beyond GOCE for the ocean circulation estimate: Synergetic use of altimetry, gravimetry, and in situ data provides new insight into geostrophic and Ekman currents, Geophysical Research Letters 41(24), 8918–8925. URL:

Simoncelli S., Fratianni C., Pinardi N., Grandi A., Drudi M., Oddo P., & S. Dobricic (2019). Mediterranean Sea Physical Reanalysis (CMEMS MED-Physics) (Version 1) [Data set]. Copernicus Monitoring Environment Marine Service (CMEMS).

Martínez J., García-Ladona E., Ballabrera-Poy J., Isern-Fontanet J., González-Motos S., Allegue J.M. and C. González-Haro (2022). Atlas of Currents and their Variability in the Mediterranean and Canary-Iberian-Biscaye Waters. Journal of Operational Oceanography, DOI: 10.1080/1755876X.2022.2102357
This work introduces a climatological (monthly averaged) Atlas of currents in the Mediterranean and Canary-Iberian-Biscay basins based on today’s state of the art reanalyses of the ocean circulation. Surface and near-surface reanalyses, generated by the European operational centers through Copernicus services, are used here. The Atlas domain is limited to the waters surrounding the Iberian Peninsula, the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean basin. The Atlas provides information about the main ocean current patterns and can be used as a complementary tool for real-time ocean forecasting systems used in both research and marine emergencies management. The Atlas includes the variance matrix at each gridpoint providing quantitative information about the variability of the currents. The climatological fields agree with usual schemes proposed in the previous literature for the target regions. However it clearly improves the time and space resolution of the emerging recurrent patterns. In both basins important differences between the surface and near-surface (15-16 m depth) currents patterns have been found, mainly in summer. These differences show the non-negligible signature of winds in the vertical structure of the permanent ocean circulation. Some qualitative validation with independent drifter trajectories demonstrates the added value of using such fields for operational purposes. The Atlas is accompanied with a digital version, with enhanced visualization capabilities to facilitate first assessments during emergency situations or just for navigation planning.
Martínez J., García-Ladona E. and Ballabrera-Poy J. (2021), Atlas of Mediterranean and Canary/Iberian/Biscay Atlantic currents (V.1.0).

COSMOVIEW The COSMO-VIEW tool is an open source project developed for visualizing marine environmental data with special attention to manage ocean velocity fields from different sources (forecasting models, HF radar observations, drifters....). In addition it includes many tools to assess search and rescue operations (SAR). Among other functionalities we can highlight the possibility of combining and comparing several velocity products simultaneously, combining velocity fields with scalar data, as for example the sea surface temperature form models or satellite images, and loading lagrangian data from drifter observations. A remarkable funcionality is the connection with a Generalised Lagrangian model (Ballabrera-Poy et al. 2022) to perform Lagrangian simulations just from simple tracking trajectories, associated to static or time evolving velocity fiels, to more complex particle dynamics including the action of winds, waves and dispersion processes. The COSMO-VIEW is a basic stand alone GUI, entirely programed in Python and FORTRAN, with many high quality and highly configurable GIS capabilities and able to produce movies of time evolving fields. Latest developments include some skill assessment of simulated particle trajectories, backtracking capabilities and the option to load navigation warnings through the PING system (SHOM development in Pilot Study 3) and integrate AIS data.

Repository: (Software is distributed under MIT License)

J. Ballabrera-Poy, E. García-Ladona, J.A. Jiménez-Madrid, J. Martínez (2022). The COSMO Lagrangian Model: An open source model for research and operations. (submitted to Environmental Modelling and Software, see a draft copy).
The COSMO Lagrangian Model (CLM) is an open-source model intended for both operations and research. In the CLM the simulated offline trajectories followed by punctual particles respond to advective (driven by the currents, winds and waves) and diffusive velocities resulting from unresolved processes and sea turbulence. Stochastic terms accounting for anisotropic, flow-dependent noise and isotropic, flow-independent noise are included in the model. Ocean currents and atmospheric winds are read from NetCDF files. Each component of the ocean currents and atmospheric winds is read and interpolated in space and time independently, with no assumptions about grid staggering. Input fields are used as they are, with no need of preprocessing and can, therefore, be directly downloaded from the Copernicus servers, operational centers, or can be directly accessed from OPeNDAP servers. Activation of random clouds of release locations, backtracking, and other simulation parameters are specified at the command line.
SAR Pilot Study

In MEDOSMOSIS Pilot studies are activities developed by partners to solve identified gaps and interoperability issues associated to data sharing, data exchange in Maritime Surevillance. SAR applications is the main topic in which ICM team has been mainly involved among the project Pilot Studies. The goals have been to undertake two field activities devoted to test current operational tools from responsible authorities, to train SAR operators for managing the information flow in this kind of emergencies and to assess the integration into WEB services and characteristic tools for Maritime Surveillance. ICM has promoted two field activities, one coordinated by ICM and a second coordinated by the Hellenic Coast Guard. In the follwing we summarize both activities and highlights major outcomes.