From local support to worldwide dissemination – the experience gathered by the Nazare Canyon Observatory MONICAN (W Portugal).

JERICO-NEXT poster presentation at the 4th Blue Planet Symposium, 4-6 July 2018, Toulouse, France.


João Vitorino, Walter Chicharro, Inês Martins, Nuno Zacarias, Pedro Pisco, Dino Casimiro, Ilmer Golde, Paul Mota, Carla Maurício, Sara Almeida

Instituto Hidrográfico operates a real-time monitoring system for the Portuguese continental margin which comprises multi-parametric buoys, HF radars, wave buoys and coastal tide gauge stations. Between 2009 and 2011 those capacities were implemented in the area of influence of Nazare Canyon which extends for more than 200km and cuts the complete continental margin offshore the village of Nazare (W Portuguese coast). The implementation of the Nazare Canyon Observatory MONICAN was conducted in a close partnership with the Nazare City Hall. This allowed a close contact with the local nautical communities, particularly with the fishing community, an essential aspect in the design of products to end-users and in the identification of dissemination channels. The direct communication with the local decision structures also played a key role during periods of extreme weather events or in the articulation with local initiatives aiming the sustainable use of coastal ocean resources.

In 2011 the MONICAN observatory gained worldwide visibility following the successful attempt of the American Garret McNamara to surf the giant waves that the canyon promotes very near the northern shore of Nazaré. Those images spread around the World and rapidly attracted to the area big wave surfers and large crowds of visitants, triggering an explosive increase of tourism in the region. The real-time measurements and forecasts provided by MONICAN become an essential information not only to support international surfing competitions but more frequently to help thousands of visitors to plan their visits to Nazaré big waves. And are providing an open window to the coastal ocean that meets the public curiosity and boost dissemination and educational activities.

The present poster joints the views of some of the key players from Instituto Hidrografico and from the Nazare City Hall (namely the Nazare Mayor, Walter Chicharro) in a synthesis of the experience gathered in Nazaré and the near future developments.

Download the poster here