CALYPSO Operational Map

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CALYPSO FO is a 6-month intensive project which builds on the achievements of the previous, successful CALYPSO project. It is expected to deliver a more robust HF radar monitoring system of sea surface currents in the Malta Channel with the installation of an additional radar on the Sicilian side.

The partnership comprises one Maltese partner, the Physical Oceanography Research Group from the University of Malta, and four Sicilian partners: University of Palermo (Polo Territoriale Universitario della Provincia di Trapani), L'Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IAMC-CNR), University of Catania (CUTGANA) and ARPA SICILIA (Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione dell’Ambiente).

Coast guards, civil protection organisations and local environmental protection agencies in both Malta and Sicily stand to benefit from this new technology, as will companies managing oil extraction platforms and tourist organisations reliant on unspoilt coastlines and safer maritime transportation. The CALYPSO data is shedding new insights on the dynamics of the sea in this part of the Mediterranean, leading to research efforts also related to improved forecasting of the marine environment, protection from oil spills, search and rescue, and fisheries.


CALYPSO is a 2-year project partly financed by the EU under the Operational Programme Italia-Malta 2007-2013, and co-ordinated by Prof. Aldo Drago from the Physical Oceanography Unit of the University of Malta. It brings together 3 other partners from Malta – namely Transport Malta, Civil Protection Department and Armed Forces of Malta – and 4 partners from Sicily – ARPA Sicilia, IAMC-CNR Capo Granitola, Università degli Studi di Palermo (UNIPA) and Università di Catania (CUTGANA).  The consortium consists of research entities and also public entities with responsibilities for civil and environmental protection, surveillance, security and response to hazards. 

The main project deliverable is the setting up of a permanent and fully operational HF radar observing system, capable of recording (in real-time with hourly updates) surface currents in the Malta Channel. The system consists of HF radar installations on the northern Malta and southern Sicilian shores at selected sites and combines stations to elaborate and publish data to users.

Collected data, combined to numerical models, are intended to primarily support applications to optimise intervention in case of oil spill response as well as endow tools for search and rescue, security, safer navigation, improved metro-marine forecasts, monitoring of sea conditions in critical areas such as proximity to ports, and better management of the marine space between Malta and Sicily.

Partners will share experiences and build on existing practices as well as undertake new joint initiatives targeting key problem issues that put at risk the coastal and marine resources especially from oil pollution at sea. The project further envisages the participation of public authorities to enable the full exploitation of the system, improve exchange of information and prepare a common base for joint interventions in the case of accidents and emergencies.

The project shall also serve for capacity building in the monitoring of the coastal seas and adjoining resources.

The routine acquisition of multi-disciplinary, spatially widespread, long-term data sets of the ocean and coastal seas is expected to trigger an unprecedented leap in the economic value of ocean data and information, and will additionally target multiple applications and users. 

The project puts Malta and Sicily at the forefront of such initiatives in the Mediterranean and will serve as a stepping stone to add on to the system in the future to have a coverage of the full marine space around the Maltese Islands and the Sicilian perimeter including the coastal areas.