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Autonomous ocean observatories in the Baltic Sea - the SAMBA project

Through our ocean observatories, we collect and distribute openly available high-resolution data around the Baltic Sea.

The Baltic Sea is an integral component of the lives of those living around it. It influences our climate and weather, and its ecosystems host necessary living resources and biodiversity. The properties of the Baltic Sea can control how these interconnected systems might thrive now and in the future.

Yet, the ocean environment is naturally dynamic and variable. To understand what changes are short-term (think: ocean weather) and which are longer-term (think: ocean climate), we need robust, continuous observations documenting essential ocean variables, such as temperature, salt and oxygen content.

SAMBA: Smart Autonomous Monitoring in the Baltic Sea

The SAMBA (Smart Autonomous Monitoring of the BAltic Sea) project seeks to fundamentally change the landscape of ocean observations in the Baltic Sea by collecting its most extensive and highest resolution data set and making it freely and easily accessible.

Ocean Knowledge directs the project with the support of scientific advisors, including institutions and consortiums such as the University of Gothenburg, the Baltic Operational Observations Programme (BOOS) and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrographic Institute (SMHI).

SAMBA project glider deployment at Voice of the Ocean
Aleksandra Mazur and Olle Petersson deploy an ocean glider in the Baltic Sea as part of the SAMBA project

Ocean observatories to gather relevant data

SAMBA consists of several ”ocean observatory” sites – locations selected for their relevance and importance to the scientific community (typically as sites of water mass exchanges). In these places, we deploy ocean gliders and autonomous surface vessels simultaneously to measure the properties of the water column (such as temperature, salinity and oxygen content) alongside sea surface and atmospheric changes (including air temperature, wind and waves).

Next-level data collection

Together, these innovative platforms,

  • Obtain observations that we would traditionally collect from time-consuming and expensive ship surveys at a fraction of the cost,
  • Keep measuring during stormy weather conditions that would be impossible for ship-based observations to happen.

The ocean gliders and surface vessels function autonomously and are remotely piloted by our operations team in Gothenburg (Sweden). We use this autonomous observing system to survey the Baltic Sea in intelligent and adaptive ways, reacting to discoveries and targeting key ocean features.

Explore and download the data

The data collected is transmitted back to our team in near real time (NRT) to be redirected to national and international agencies. The data is in turn used for weather forecasting and computer simulations of the Baltic Sea.

We host all live data and data from completed missions on our Observations Portal, come and explore what’s available! Here you can find our data, live glider locations and tools to discover past missions. All data collected are free to download and use.