Metal Geochemistry Meets Machine Learning in the North Atlantic

Surveying the seabed is still an enormous task. So far, only 20% of the regions under water have been mapped with echosounders. This refers only to the topography, not to the content, i.e. the composition of the seafloor. “The existing sampling efforts are virtually just tiny pinpricks in the vast amount of uncertainty that has so far covered the seafloor,” says Dr Timm Schöning from the Deep-Sea Monitoring group of GEOMAR, who led an iAtlantic expedition aboard the German research vessel Maria S. Merian in autumn 2020. Over a period of four weeks, a team of geochemists and data scientists... (read more)
2020-11-27 11:25:25

Seatools Equips Boskalis with Plough Position Monitoring Buoy

On behalf of its client Boskalis, subsea technology company Seatools completed the development, manufacturing and testing of a plough position monitoring buoy. After successful sea trials, the buoy is now being deployed for a subsea cable route clearance project, where the buoy has been fitted onto a subsea plough. Whereas USBL is the conventional way to determine the position of subsea vehicles, this acoustic method fails to function properly for towed vehicles that operate in shallow waters with much ambient noise, such as thruster wash. Looking for a solution that meets the strict requirements for following and registering the defined... (read more)
2020-11-17 08:46:37

Measuring and 3D Mapping of Sea Ice in the Arctic

Underneath the Top of the Iceberg
Sea ice is one of the most important parameters when it comes to ice-albedo feedback; in other words, the fraction of incoming solar radiation that is reflected directly back into space. Because of the grave importance of the decrease in the amount of sea ice due to the climate crisis, gaining a full understanding of its complex structure is more important than ever. Both large and small Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) have been used successfully to map the 3D structure of the underside of sea ice, but always in an experimental context. The challenge is to determine the best way... (read more)
2020-10-06 11:21:52

Beagle Gulf Hydrographic Survey in Full Swing

Precision Hydrographic Services (PHS) has recently been contracted by the Australian Hydrographic Office (AHO) to undertake a hydrographic survey in Beagle Gulf, located in the Northern Territory of Australia, to determine the local bathymetry for navigational purposes. The hydrographic survey is taking place between the beginning of July 2020 and the end of August 2020, with two survey vessels, the Limitless and PHS Zephyr, both displaying flags (India over Romeo – conducting survey operations) while undertaking survey. The survey will be measuring oceanographic parameters including currents, tides and wave height in the immediate area, with oceanographic measurements recorded by utilizing... (read more)
2020-07-28 08:57:09

COVID-19 Threatens to Create Failings in Understanding Climate Change

Governments and oceanographic institutes all around the world have recalled nearly all of their oceanographic research vessels to home port due to COVID-19, and the impact on the ability to observe the ocean has been dramatic. According to the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC), this disruption in observation creates an ocean-data blind spot that could disrupt weather forecasts and hamper our understanding of climate change. Even where autonomous equipment such as moored buoys (fixed instruments that scan the whole water column from seafloor to the sea surface to provide a wide array of ocean data) or Argo floats (free-drifting floats that... (read more)
2020-06-29 04:17:37

Mapping Underwater Terrain with Bathymetric Lidar

Two Similar Projects in Different Parts of the World
High-resolution bathymetric surveys support aquaculture research and increase navigational safety. In a case study, Tim Webster reports how this is done at Cape John Peninsula in Canada. In a second case study, Carol Lockhart describes a project in the Kingdom of Tonga, a Polynesian archipelago comprising 169 islands that stretches across approximately 800 kilometres in the South Pacific Ocean. Measuring water depth for nautical purposes dates back to ancient civilizations. As technology has evolved through the centuries, besides ship-based echo sounding, remote monitoring and mapping of water bodies has become increasingly available via Lidar bathymetric surveys conducted by airborne systems.... (read more)
2020-06-09 09:01:41

Research Expedition to Map Scottish Seabed

Slow Recovery of Coral Reef Shows Impact of Bottom Trawling
Newly developed 3D imaging technology has allowed scientists to map Darwin Mounds, a unique area of cold-water coral reefs off the coast of Scotland, to see whether it has recovered since being declared a Marine Protected Area sixteen years ago. The images show that in areas of the Darwin Mounds that had been heavily trawled, coral growth is still very sparse, and there has been no real recolonization. However, healthy coral growth was found in parts that had only been minimally damaged by bottom trawling, indicating that marine conservation measures are most effective when they are put in place before damage occurs.... (read more)
2020-05-18 01:46:12

How Remote Acoustic Technologies Can Protect Marine Life

From hydrophones attached to buoys or autonomous vehicles to a passive acoustic monitoring system, WHOI scientists and engineers have developed innovative methods to monitor marine mammals in real time. The idea is simple: if authorities are aware of the presence of migrating whales, they will be able to tell ships to slow down, drastically reducing the likelihood of a fatality. Remote acoustic technologies can also alert scientists to a stranding event, buying critical time to save the animal’s life. Ships and fishing gear are not the only man-made hazards that whales face. Noise in the marine environment also causes distress,... (read more)
2020-04-28 12:21:57

What is the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System?

Imagine you’re a port pilot, responsible for the safe passage of a cargo ship that’s about the same size as an aircraft carrier. It’s the middle of the night, it’s windy and you’re contending with large waves and an outgoing tide. A stressful scenario to be sure, but happily you have the benefit of a real-time information system that gives you details about water levels, currents, salinity and weather to help you guide your vessel. That system is known as PORTS, the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System. Maritime Accidents The concept for PORTS was born following two serious maritime accidents in Tampa... (read more)
2020-04-21 10:10:19

How GPS Trackers and Drones Help Locate Floating Debris

An estimated 600,000 tons of abandoned fishing gear ends up in the oceans every year. According to the United Nations, some 380,000 marine mammals are killed each year, either by ingesting this fishing gear or being caught in it. Mary T. Crowly of the Ocean Voyages Institute describes how GPS trackers are being used to mark the ghost nets. An estimated 600,000 tons of abandoned fishing gear ends up in the oceans every year. According to the United Nations, some 380,000 marine mammals are killed each year, either by ingesting this fishing gear or being caught in it. Mary T. Crowly of the Ocean Voyages Institute describes how GPS trackers are being used to mark the ghost nets. The Ocean Voyages Institute is a non-profit organization based in Sausalito, California (US). It leads the way in utilizing and adapting existing maritime equipment with innovative approaches to ocean clean-up. For the past 40 years, the Ocean Voyages Institute has devoted its... (read more)
2020-04-02 12:20:06
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