The importance of ocean monitoring

Key learning

Understanding the state of the ocean is essential to our future. In this article, we elaborate on why ocean monitoring is so important and how and what we are measuring.

Why are we collecting ocean data?

The ocean is a vast and dynamic system. And to observe and understand the bigger picture and the details more efficiently, Voice of the Ocean continuously gathers and supplies time series of ocean data.

Our open-access policy helps forecasters and researchers see patterns and differentiate between short and long-term changes.

Moreover, the near real-time data provide the basis for unique insights into how the ocean changes and can help to shed light on unsolved questions. And might even give new input to topics previously thought to be understood.

There is a need for sustained high-resolution ocean measurements. And it requires reliable operation and relevant infrastructure.

Olle glader – Voice of the Ocean

How are we gathering data?

The Ocean Knowledge team in Gothenburg forms the hub of our ocean monitoring. From our vessels, we deploy and recover our fleet of uncrewed gliders. The 24/7 approach not only guarantees high-quality data but also makes the operations unique internationally.

When aggregating our data, we follow the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data principles. It ensures the safe archiving of the data to be available for future generations.

Our ocean gliders

Our autonomous underwater vehicles are ideal for gathering data in remote areas and under almost any conditions. After deployment, the glider collects water samples while moving up and down in a sawtooth pattern.

Depending on the weather conditions, a glider typically operates in a preprogrammed manner for two weeks before recovery and maintenance.

What are we measuring?

We have the option to equip our gliders with a series of sensors, which in turn enable us to measure several oceanographic variables.

However, a set of four base parameters are always collected – those are,

Temperature The ocean’s temperature is essential to measure as it can tell us how the atmosphere and ocean surface interacts and how water mixes at depth.
Salinity This parameter indicates the amount of salt in a body of water. And it can change by rainfall or evaporation. Together with temperature, it makes a unique fingerprint that helps us track how water mixes and where it travels to or from.
Dissolved oxygen This is an indicator of water quality, and dissolved oxygen is essential for the survival of all aquatic life.
Chlorophyll Measuring chlorophyll is a way of measuring how much plant plankton there is in the ocean. These plankton get their energy from sunlight and grow via photosynthesis, adding oxygen to the water.

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