SOCIB researchers publish ten years of sustained morphodynamic data of Cala Millor Beach, Mallorca

  • The open-access journal Scientific Data provides a free and unrestricted archived morphological and hydrodynamical dataset of Cala Millor beach, Mallorca (Balearic Islands). 

Researchers at the Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System (SOCIB), the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA CSIC-UIB), and the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) have published a morphological and hydrodynamical dataset of the micro-tidal urban Cala Millor Beach in Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean Sea covering more than a decade. This free and unrestricted archived dataset of scientific value is available through the open-access journal Scientific Data. The dataset includes topobathymetries, shoreline positions obtained from video cameras, meteorological parameters from a weather station, currents, as well as waves and sea level from Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) measurements and sediment size. 

According to the authors, this dataset can be used to support the modelling of erosion-deposition patterns, calibrate beach evolution models, and as a result to propose adaptation and mitigation actions under different global change scenarios.

A decade of a comprehensive beach monitoring programme

“Systematic and sustained high quality measurements of nearshore waves and beach morphology are crucial to understand morphodynamic processes that determine beach evolution, to unravel the effects of global warming on sandy coasts and thus improve forecasting models,” explains Àngels Fernández, head of the Beach Monitoring facility at SOCIB and co-author of the dataset. To that end, in 2011 a comprehensive beach monitoring programme, the first in the Mediterranean Sea, started at Cala Millor in order to provide long-term datasets of near-shore morphodynamics in a carbonate sandy micro-tidal and semi-embayed beach fronted by a Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadow. Now, after more than a decade of sustained collection of high-quality morphodynamics data, Cala Millor is one of the most extensively studied beaches in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Furthermore, over the years, “the beach monitoring programme implemented in the Balearic Islands, through close collaboration with national and international researchers, has successfully bridged the gap between science and society,” highlights Joaquín Tintoré, director of SOCIB and co-author of the dataset. By actively involving the regional authorities, stakeholders and local community, “the programme has developed scientific products and solutions that address their specific concerns. Furthermore, this collaborative approach has built trust and fostered an effective exchange of knowledge, benefiting both science and the local population,” he adds. 

Figure: a) Western Mediterranean Sea. Red box indicates the location of Mallorca. b) Mallorca. Red box indicates the location of Cala Millor Beach. c) Cala Millor beach. The red dot indicates the location of the video-monitoring station and the red triangle the location of the submerged ADCP.


Looking to the future: LIFE AdaptCalaMillor

As a result of these efforts, the LIFE AdaptCalaMillor Project (involving ICTS SOCIB, IMEDEA CSIC-UIB and UIB), co-funded by the European Commission, started in January 2023 in order to develop a participatory and multi-level governance process to design a transformational climate change adaptation project at Cala Millor Beach. The project adopts a novel integrated and multidisciplinary approach, drawing on scientific knowledge to address the challenges effectively. Its ultimate goal is to develop nature-based solutions that can be applied not only to Cala Millor, but also to other urban beaches in the Mediterranean Sea facing similar issues. The project aims to ensure that the voices of all stakeholders, authorities, and inhabitants are heard, making it a comprehensive and adaptable initiative for sustainable beach management in the face of climate change.

Further information

Behind the paper. Tintoré, J.  (2023). Ten years of morphodynamic data at a micro-tidal urban beach: Cala Millor (Western Mediterranean Sea).

Reference article 

Fernández-Mora, A., Criado-Sudau, F.F., Gómez-Pujol, L., Tintoré, J., & Orfila, A. (2023). Ten years of morphodynamic data at a micro-tidal urban beach: Cala Millor (Western Mediterranean Sea). Scientific Data 10(1), 301.