Lampedusa Oceanographic Observatory



The buoy is part of an integrated atmospheric and oceanographic observatory managed by ENEA. The Oceanographic Observatory is located South of the Channel of Sicily, where air masses of European and African origin meet, particularly important for monitoring the health of the Mediterranean.
The buoy is used to study the energy exchanges between the sea and the atmosphere, monitor the water column, and is contributing to the assessment and calibration of satellite measurements. The Observatory hosts instruments from ENEA and from ISMAR/CNR.  The operational instruments include a meteorological station, solar, infrared and photosynthetic radiometers, a CTD, temperature sensors at various depths down to 43 m, sensors for upwelling and downwelling spectral radiation at two depths, and detectors for chlorophyll, backscatter, and CDOM. An additional set of sensors to monitor the carbon cycle will be installed during autumn 2021.


Location: Mediterranean Sea, South of Channel of Sicily, southwest of the coast of Lampedusa (35.49°N, 12.47°E)
Distance from land: 3.3 miles 
Max water depth: 74 meters
Date 1st deployment: August 2015
Supported by: Italy, ENEA
Operated by: ENEA; CNR operates several instruments
Status: Operative


The buoy contributes to climate observation networks not only for the Mediterranean, but also on a global scale. Among its purposes are included the investigations of air-sea interactions, measurements of the water column properties, and ground truth of satellite observations. The Oceanographic Observatory complements atmospheric observations carried out at the Atmospheric Observatory on the island of Lampedusa (, about 15 km North-East of the buoy.


The Lampedusa Oceanographic Observatory is of the elastic beacon type, with an emerged section 7 meters high above the surface, and an submerged part. The buoy is very stable, allowing accurate measurements of downwelling and upwelling radiation (di Sarra et al., 2019).
The data acquisition systems are located in the turret, which is about 8 m above sea level. Most of the observations are transmitted to land in quasi real time, while some datasets are downloaded periodically. The data will be made available through the Lampedusa web site; a dedicated access page with the possibility to download the collected data is being developed. Instruments are rotated and calibrated regularly. The proximity to the atmospheric observatory allows the combination with an extended dataset on occurring atmospheric conditions and composition, and the verification of many of the measured paramaters, as well as integrated analyses.


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