Samba – Smart Autonomous Monitoring of the Baltic Sea.

– Smart Autonomous Monitoring of 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 important living resources and biodiversity and its environment has been under threat and its ecological status damaged by our development for nearly 100 years.

SAMBA is a collaboration between VOTO and Gothenburg University. The project seeks to fundamentally change the landscape of ocean observation in the Baltic Sea by collecting the largest, and highest resolution, data set of the Baltic Sea, from chemistry and physics at the molecular level, to weather, fisheries and ocean functions across the Baltic Sea.

Oceangliders (underwater) are rechargeable instruments which remain at sea for months at a time, measuring biological, chemical and physical metrics every second. These ocean gliders swim slowly across the Baltic, from the surface to the seafloor building high-definition 3-dimensional pictures of these critical environmental parameters.

Sailbuoys™ (surface) on the other hand, stay on the surface, powered using renewable solar panels. Sailbuoys are state-of-the-art vessels that can autonomously sail around the oceans collecting oceanographic (temperature, salinity, currents) and meteorological (wind, air temperature) data. We control them via satellite and the vessels send real time data every 5 minutes to us back on land. By remaining on the surface and using solar panels, Sailbuoys travel faster than ocean gliders, be deployed for months at a time and carry more advanced sensors.

Together, these innovative platforms obtain observations that we would traditionally collect fromtime-consuming and expensive ship surveys at a fraction of the cost. They function autonomously, but can be remotely piloted by the project team, to survey the Baltic Sea in intelligent and adaptive ways, reacting to new discoveries and targeting key ocean features. Themajority of the data collected is transmitted back to our team of experts in real-time so that it can be redirected to national and international agencies to inform weather forecasting services and computer simulations of the Baltic Sea.

Pairing Sailbuoys on the surface with gliders under water is really unique/novel because we are able to observe the ocean and atmosphere system as a whole. Such state-of-the-art systems are really a first for Swedish waters and are set to change the way we think about collecting observations and how we understand our environment. We are extremely excited to grow this technological capability in Sweden and the Nordic region. This is crucial to understanding our entire ocean environment better.