The natural conservation of coastal lagoons is important not only for their ecological importance, but also because of the valuable ecosystem services they provide for human welfare and wellbeing. Coastal lagoons are shallow semi-enclosed systems that support important habitats such as wetlands, mangroves, salt-marshes and seagrass meadows, as well as a rich biodiversity.

A new report from the WWF finds record levels of pollution from microplastics in the Mediterranean Sea are now higher than those in the oceanic ‘garbage patches’ and are threatening marine species, fisheries activities and human health in the region.

Deep water convection (DC) in winter is one of the major processes driving open-ocean primary productivity in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea. DC is highly variable in time, depending on the specific conditions (stratification, circulation and ocean-atmosphere interactions) of each specific winter. This variability also drives the interannual oscillations of open-ocean primary productivity in this important region for many commercially-important fish species.

In this contribution we identify storm time clustering in the Mediterranean Sea through a comprehensive analysis of the Allan factor. This parameter is evaluated from a long time series of wave height provided by oceanographic buoy measurements and hindcast reanalysis of the whole basin, spanning the period 1979–2014 and characterized by a horizontal resolution of about 0.1° in longitude and latitude and a temporal sampling of 1 h Mentaschi et al. (2015). The nature of the processes highlighted by the AF and the spatial distribution of the parameter are both investigated.

This paper presents an innovative web-based decision support system to facilitate emergency management in the case of oil spill accidents, called WITOIL (Where Is The Oil). The system can be applied to create a forecast of oil spill events, evaluate uncertainty of the predictions, and calculate hazards based on historical meteo-oceanographic datasets. To compute the oil transport and transformation, WITOIL uses the MEDSLIK-II oil spill model forced by operational meteo-oceanographic services. Results of the modeling are visualized through Google Maps.

The long-lasting Sahel drought in the 1970s and 1980s caused enormous human and socio-economic losses, driving extensive research on its causes. Although changes in global and regional sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are thought to be dominant drivers of the severe Sahel drying trend, the mechanisms for the recent recovery trend are not fully clear yet, but are often assumed to be akin to the previous SST–Sahel drought linkage.

Storm surges, leading to catastrophic coastal flooding, are amongst the most feared natural hazards due to the high population densities and economic importance of littoral areas. Using the Central Mediterranean Sea as a model system, we provide strong evidence for enhanced periods of storminess leading to coastal flooding during the last 4500 years. We show that long-term correlations can be drawn between storminess and solar activity, acting on cycles of around 2200-yr and 230-yr.

Marine plastic pollution is an ever-increasing problem that demands immediate mitigation and reduction plans. Here, a model based on satellite-tracked buoy observations and scaled to a large data set of observations on microplastic from surface trawls was used to simulate the transport of plastics floating on the ocean surface from 2015 to 2025, with the goal to assess the optimal marine microplastic removal locations for two scenarios: removing the most surface microplastic and reducing the impact on ecosystems, using plankton growth as a proxy.

In a new investigation of model projections of greenhouse gas warming impact on the Mediterranean, Zappa et al (2015 Environ. Res. Lett. 10 104012) find that the decline in basin-wide precipitation scales linearly with the strength of the 850 hPa zonal wind over North Africa. This result supports previous findings that climate change will affect the Mediterranean primarily through changing the regional atmospheric circulation. The results of this study may guide improvements of climate models to better simulate the impact of greenhouse gas warming in this critical world region.

During the months of June and July 2013, over the Euro–Mediterranean area, the ADRIMED (Aerosol Direct Radiative Impact on the regional climate in the Mediterranean region) project was dedicated to characterize the ozone and aerosol concentrations in the troposphere. It is first shown that this period was not highly polluted compared to previous summers in this region, with a moderate ozone production, no significant vegetation fire events and several precipitation periods scavenging the aerosol.