Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

MEDIA - Press office ENEA
marine hazard project

Environment: From ENEA innovative technologies for the Mediterranean

An innovative platform for real-time monitoring of the central Mediterranean which works as an integrated laboratory for remote sensing, ocean models, chemical analyses and marine property data is the outcome of the activities ENEA conducted as part of the Marine Hazard project[1], funded with the PON “Research and competitiveness 2007-2013” measure and coordinated by the Cnr.

The WebGIS[2] platform is an actual open source database, capable of managing environmental and geospatial information and monitoring different marine properties and parameters in real time, including those relating to natural and anthropogenic contamination. As part of the project, ENEA conducted activities relating to the analysis of sediments and satellite data; modeling studies on marine circulation; in situ and remote measurements of marine properties.

The platform, developed at ENEA -in collaboration with the CNR- by the "Observations and measurements for the environment and climate" and "Protection of critical infrastructures" laboratories, is part of the activities aimed at developing an integrated remote sensing laboratory [3]: in addition to data from in situ measurements and remote sensing from the ENEA Observatory in Lampedusa and the Cnr observatory in Capo Granitola (Sicily), the maxi-laboratory can receive and process information relating to Earth Observation from the "Copernicus Marine Environment", and make a multi-year archive of daily satellite data which can be consulted and downloaded, available to the scientific community and institutions.

 “ENEA, with its Lampedusa Climate Observatory provided a crucial contribution to developing the open source WebGIS system, which made it possible to manage the temporal evolution of events and make continuously updated information available to the institutions,” pointed out Giorgio Di Sarra, researcher at the ENEA Laboratory of Observations and Measurements for the Environment and Climate. “The integration of the measurements carried out at the Lampedusa Laboratory and by satellite, allowed to study some of the phenomena that impact the sea and coasts of the Mediterranean, like the peak intensity and persistence of the 2022-23 heat waves or the extreme rainfall event in south-eastern Sicily last February”, said Di Sarra.

The Remote Sensing Laboratory comprises various components which include a data acquisition and integration center, a reference laboratory for the characterization, instrumental configuration and verification of Earth Observation data; the development of new platforms and new observation systems through the creation and characterization of new sensors, the integration of observation techniques from Earth and Space into the flexible and expandable webGIS system up to the implementation of new algorithms and methods for the characterization of the marine environment.

 “One of the main advantages of the WebGIS platform lies in its accessibility to different users for specific purposes, depending on their objectives and skills”, highlights Maurizio Pollino, head of the ENEA Critical Infrastructure Protection Laboratory. “For example, it is possible to easily insert your own data into the system and integrate it with that of validated satellite observations. This type of functionality is particularly useful for users of environmental agencies and local administrations and for this reason its application is constantly being improved with new documents and functions", concludes Pollino.

But there’s more. Thanks to an innovative ocean model developed by ENEA, which realistically reproduces the surface circulation of the Mediterranean, the researchers conducted a very high resolution study of the circulation models on the "Palinuro" underwater volcano, about 65 kilometers from the coast of Cilento., whose results have provided important indications for activities to mitigate the effects resulting from extraction of mineral resources in the marine environment[4]. The research team comprised experts from the two ENEA Divisions "Models and technologies for the reduction of anthropogenic impacts and natural risks" and "Protection and enhancement of the territory and natural capital".

ENEA has also contributed to the development of a mobile and integrated remediation technologies platform for marine sediment from coastal areas contaminated by metals and organic substances like mercury, arsenic and hydrocarbons[5]. The activities of sediment characterization, development of analytical methods and validation of the results were conducted in the pilot areas of the contaminated sites of Bagnoli (Naples) and Augusta (Syracuse).

As regards the restoration of degraded seabeds[6], ENEA has conducted wave motion characterization studies in the Gulf of Palermo, an area focus of a restoration and reforestation intervention with Posidonia oceanica. In fact, as part of the project, an innovative biodegradable plastic system will be created on the seabed of the area for fixing cuttings of Posidonia oceanica, with the aim of promoting their rooting, growth and natural development dynamics.

The project includes the INGV, INFN, the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Sicily “A. Mirri”, Anton Dohrn Zoological Station, CoNISMa and the companies Leonardo, Orion, Enviroconsult, Mater and Cericit.

Photos and Videos

For more information please contact:


WebGIS Platform

Case studies relating to the 2022-2023 heat waves and the February 2023 extreme rainfall event are available for consultation.


[1] “Development of innovative technologies for the identification, monitoring and mitigation of natural and anthropogenic contamination phenomena”

[2] The WEbGis platform was also implemented and customized based on the Open Source GeoNode suite

[3] Implementation Objective 3 - Remote sensing Laboratory

[4] Objective OR1 Prevention of effects related to the retrieval of marine mineral resources

[5] OR2 - Remediation of sediments and waters contaminated by priority pollutants

[6] OR4 - Development of technologies and management strategies for the environmental protection and restoration of oceanic posidonia meadows