Oceanographic processes in shelf and coastal regions are among the most relevant ones impacting human life, and at the same time they are difficult to analyze because of their intrinsic multi-disciplinary nature and the effects of boundary conditions.
In order to improve the knowledge of processes typical of these regions, there is a stronger need to proceed towards an integrated approach, i.e., combine numerical coupled systems (of ocean, wind, waves, biology and sediments) at limited scales, with data resulting from distributed coastal observatories (point-wise data from multi-variable buoys, high-frequency radar images, satellite images, drifters, AUVs, gliders, etc.), considering a wide range of aspects (tides, stratification, mixing, land boundaries, distributed run-off, river discharges, pollutants from densely populated areas, etc.).
These issues are even more relevant in a framework of changing climate: shallow coastal and transitional areas, wetlands and lagoons, coastal cities and valuable infrastructure are being threatened by potential impacts of climate-change-induced hazards (more frequent inundation of low-lying areas, exposure to accelerated sea-level rise, increased rates of coastal erosion), while they also very often represent sites where it is economically feasible to harvest renewable energy, or where state-of-the-art prototypes can be more readily deployed for specific studies.