Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+


In routine or in real time, on a global or regional scale, both on the surface and beneath it, Mercator Ocean describes, analyses and forecasts the state of the ocean by developing the “Mercator System” for ocean analysis and forecasting and maintaining it in an operational condition.

The company

Mercator Ocean is a privately-owned non-profit company. It provides a service of general interest to France and Europe as a whole. The organisation was founded and is funded by the five major French institutions involved in operational oceanography: CNRS (National Center of Scientific Research), Ifremer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), IRD (Institute of Research for Development), Météo-France and SHOM (Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the French Navy).

The CNES (the French Spatial Agency), which became a founder member of Mercator Ocean to help start its operational activity based on satellite data, is a privileged partner.

With its R&D activities, operations, expert forecasters and the services it provides to users, Mercator Ocean covers the entire value chain of a highly-advanced, operational oceanography centre by means of complex ocean simulation systems. Mercator Ocean employs some sixty scientists and experts led by Pierre BAHUREL. It is located at Ramonville Saint-Agne, near Toulouse.

Leader of an outstanding Toulouse-based sector

Operational Oceanography is a specialized space applications sector in the Toulouse area, which has emerged over the past few years and which involves more than 700 people (in laboratories and research centres, or working for institutional operators, private service companies, universities and engineering schools, etc. ) in research, design, development and operation of satellite observation infrastructures, of ocean forecasting systems and of value-added applications, particularly for the export market and also in training. Mercator Ocean, which has been the coordinator of the European MyOcean projects since 2009 and which will soon be the European service delegate for ocean monitoring is today the leader in this highly specialized sector.

Delegate of the European Union’s Copernicus Marine Service

After running the European MyOcean projects since 2009, Mercator Ocean was officially appointed by the European Commission on November 11th, 2014 to implement the European ocean-monitoring service, the “Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service”, as part of the European Earth observation programme, Copernicus. It is an unprecedented service, free, and open to all, accessible via a web portal. Its pilot phase (MyOcean) attracted more than 5000 subscribers around the world.

Having sufficient knowledge to be able to forecast, among other ocean parameters, their temperatures, currents, salinity, the thickness of sea ice in all the oceans of the world, above and below the surface, but also their oxygen content, nutrients, in phosphate and in nitrate, would give the world a decisive operational capacity for scientific research, the protection of citizens and for development of the blue economy (marine energy, safety at sea and maritime routing, sustainable exploitation of coastal environments and marine resources, etc.).

This delegation agreement covers EUR 144 million from 2014 to 2021 and is the subject of calls for tenders and consultations which will all be published under the feature, Calls for Offers/Copernicus Marine Service.