CMEMS User Uptake Label


European North West Shelf Seas

Coastal and Marine Environment / Marine Resources

DTU - Technical University of Denmark


Marine life is controlled by the very variable conditions in the oceans; some species have certain temperature and salinity requirements, others species need plankton to feed at. OCEBIS (OCEan Biological Information Service) is a web service that aims at providing maps of potential biological drivers that provides the basis for life in the oceans and identifying potential living areas for marine species. Examples are maps of frontal zones and marine spatial connectivity maps. To deliver these maps OCEBIS uses real-time hydrography from the Copernicus Marine Service. The OCEBIS portal is based on Geoserver so that data is displayed on pretty geographical maps; the portal has drop-down menus displaying the available products generated by OCEBIS, as well as static background layers. The portal allows zooming into areas of interest and overlying different maps, and offers a basic toolbox for data exploration. The service currently applies to the European North West Shelf.

Data availability[edit]

All data produced by OCEBIS as well as the displayed graphics, are freely available to the public. No registration is necessary. Data is provided as is and without any warranty whatsoever. Currently the following biological data layers below are updated dynamically. Hourly update frequency means Copernicus Marine Service is polled at hourly basis for new raw physical/biogeochemical data sets

Data description update frequency
bloom index d/dt(vertically integrated primary production) hourly
Depth of pycnocline water density by UNESCO interpolation hourly
Max density gradient water density by UNESCO interpolation hourly
Surface estaurine front characterized by 32 PSU < salinity < 33.5 PSU hourly
Logarithm of light at seabed minus vertical integral of attenuation coefficient hourly
Depth of vertical maximum of phytoplankton concentration - hourly
Vertical maximum of phytoplankton concentration - hourly
Sea bed potential temperature directly from Copernicus Marine Service hourly
Mixed layer depth directly from Copernicus Marine Service hourly
Sea surface temperature - hourly
Surface-bottom temperature stratification - hourly
Thermal mixing front evaluated as magnitude of gradient of surface-bottom stratification hourly
Depth of max temperature gradient - hourly
Max temperature vertical gradient - hourly
Surface vorticity curl of surface current vector field hourly
Hydrodynamic transport of passive tracers by starting position User selects starting time and position and transport period. This can be used to assess hydrodynamic transport of early life stages, when spawning locations are known transport kernels computed updated on seasonal basis

New data layers may be added upon user interest and requests

How the service is operational[edit]

OCEBIS is a downstream service based on Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS). This means that on an hourly basis retrieves new data from Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service and generates maps of potential biological drivers which are made available on In this way, OCEBIS gives a real-time view of the ocean state from a biological point of view. Some data types like spatial connectivity maps are generated on seasonal basis. Due to storage limitations OCEBIS only provides a limited backlog of data. However, the user may download back-end software used at and generate any time series downloading data from Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service data archives.

Crediting OCEBIS[edit]

Usage of data and displayed graphics from OCEBIS should be acknowledged by adding "... generated with / using data from OCEBIS( Data from was generated using E.U. Copernicus Marine Service Information” at a suitable places in the context making usage of OCEBIS data.

Copernicus Marine Service products used

The Copernicus Marine Service products used in the OCEBIS service are currently:


Integration of Copernicus Marine Service information in the OCEBIS service

OCEBIS constitutes an operational downstream service, i.e. provides continuous real-time updates of the ocean state, based upstream data from selected oceanographic data sets from the Copernicus Marine Service. At hourly basis OCEBIS automatically will download selected data sets when new data sets are posted on MFCs (Monitoring Forecasting Centers) servers of the Copernicus Marine Service service. The OCEBIS server postprocess these data downloaded from the Copernicus Marine Service and repost data maps of relevant bottom-up ecosystem drivers on the OCEBIS server, based on downloaded oceanographic data sets. Thereby Copernicus Marine Service data sets are given new value of a wider user community of marine stakeholders.

Usefulness of CMEMS information[edit]

OCEBIS utilizes data posted by Copernicus Marine Service at maximum spatial and temporal resolution. The accessible spatial and temporal resolution is sufficient for many biological purposes, but in some cases higher resolution may be needed. One such case is very close to the coast line; many numerical hydrodynamical models apply a pixellated coast line, where the coast line is represented by small zonal and meridional segments. Further small scale hydrodynamic processes are truncated by the numerical scale close to the coast line. Therefore particular attention is needed when using data within the numerical scale of the coast line or close to the model domain boundary, where artificial boundary effects may come in play. Vertically data on OCEBIS also rely on the underlying numerical topography of hydrodynamic models applied, as inferred from the raw data sets retrieved from Copernicus Marine Service. Data from the Copernicus Marine Service is easily retrieved to OCEBIS by automated python scripts (based on motu-client) and data quality was well-documented and accessible. Retrieved data is in COARDS compliant format and same processing procedures can be applied across data sets, without format conversion.


Data provides by the OCEBIS service has been generated using E.U. Copernicus Marine Service Information; development of the OCEBIS service infrastructure has kindly been supported under Copernicus User Uptake programme.

Access OCEBIS web service


2019-03-12 15:19pm CET

Version 1.1.0 of OCEBIS released (Changelog). Please report any potential improvements or issues to or on the community forum (

2018-11-30 05:45pm CET

Version 0.23.0 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).

2018-11-15 11:55pm CET

The problem announced in the News update 2018-11-12 01:30pm CET has been resolved.

2018-11-15 11:15pm CET

Since Wednesday approx 2018-11-14 04:00pm CET, the service has been in an unstable state due to temporary misconfiguration of the server. The service is now back to normal.

2018-11-12 01:30pm CET

Since Saturday morning (2018-11-10 CET) the OCEBIS layers (Layers of area: NW Shelf Seas) have not been generated due to technical issues.

We're working on resolving the issue.


Version 0.5.0 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).


Version 0.4.1 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).


Version 0.4.0 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).


Version 0.3.1 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).


Version 0.3.0 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).


Version 0.2.0 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).


Version 0.1.1 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).


Version 0.1.0 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).


Version 0.0.1 of OCEBIS released (Changelog).

Join the OCEBIS Community Forum to provide feedback and get help! You can also check out the Wiki.
DTU Aqua
Building 202
2800 Kgs. Lyngby
P: (+45) 35 88 33 00

For more information about the Copernicus Marine Service, please contact the Copernicus Marine Service Desk.

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