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The Physical Oceanography Unit (PO Unit) was established in the early 90's under the Malta Council for Science and Technology. It now forms part of the Faculty of Science within the Univesity of Malta.

The PO Unit undertakes fundamental research in coastal meteorology, hydrography and physical oceanography with a main emphasis on the experimental study of the hydrodynamics of the sea in the vicinity of the Maltese Islands. It offers facilities for the gathering, processing, analysis and management of high quality physical oceanographic observations both for long term and baseline studies as well as for general applications in marine environmental research and assessments. The Unit endeavours to enhance its activity on an operational scale by the installation and maintenance of permanent monitoring systems which provide data for ocean forecasting, and by applying numerical modelling techniques in the study of physical marine systems. It operates in collaboration with international organisations with which it has expanded its activities through a number of funded research projects. The Unit provides services and technical support to local entities including government departments and private agencies. It organises conferences, seminars, workshops and specialised training programs in order to promote oceanography in Malta and in the Mediterranean.

ENDECO tethered-type current meter under test before deployment
- Click image to enlarge

The PO Unit acts as a national oceanographic data centre and promotes the IOC/IODE (IOC Committee on the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange) products and oceanographic data management activities in Malta (IODE National Report). It provides support to local entities involved in marine research and monitoring, to collect and maintain oceanographic data according to international standards. The PO Unit plays the role of keeping track of ocean observations made in the vicinity of the Maltese Islands. Data collected by individual scientists, local agencies and governmental departments is primarily kept under the respective sources, and under different, often incompatible formats. The PO Unit aims to identify these data holdings and to bring the data under one database with standardized formats.