Now Ran is back in Sweden, and as always SCOOT makes her available for entrepreneurs, innovators and SMEs. First out is a group of SMEs during an intense mission week in early February on the Swedish west coast.
Let us know if you want to join the collaboration/testing/operations, already in February and in the planned June session. We are not looking for AUV experts only. We are looking for anyone with ideas for utilising or collecting ocean data!
What a day… The conference Ocean Data for Ocean Health covered a lot of the themes SCOOT has been involved in the last two years. We hosted the event on September 29th at SCOOT’s space at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg, and we were happy to gather quite a number of old and new SCOOT people and partners.
The programme scratched on the surface of many urgent topics. SCOOT is committed to contribute to keeping up the momentum of this dynamic environment! (Just hosted breakfast meeting on sensors platforms of opportunity, see below.)
Especially intense for SCOOT was the final Block 4, demonstrating autonomous technology for collecting ocean data, see below.
Block 4: Demonstration of ocean robots
VOTO‘s research coordinator Louise Biddle and oceanographic technician Olle Petersson explain how gliders on and below the seasurface monitors the ocean.
Next generation ocean observers!
Elsa and Jakob from the Science Club in Lysekil show their drifter Dynamene, built by Science Club and deployed in the morning, retrieving data live!
October 21st, breakfast webinar on tuna and fishing vessels
We were 6 persons having our morning coffee at Nya Varvet and another 6 joining the video meeting. Picking up from Sept 29th, we talked at some length about opportunities (and challenges) around data from tagged animals and from sensors mounted on fishing gear/vessels. Take home messages:
These data have huge potential to fill serious gaps in existing ocean monitoring programmes, where other and autonomous methods struggle. These gaps include shelf and coastal seas and marginal ice zones.
The cost-benefit relation is very good!
The infrastructure for collecting and distributing these data is rapidly expanding and maturing.
Challenges include subsurface communication and integration into existing monitoring data flows.
This is really AUV Ran doing her thing: Deep under, manoeuvring close to the bottom, using her vast sensor suit to scan the environment. This time it is for the benefit of researchers in New Zeeland, investigating the seabed of the 2000 metres deep Kaikōura Canyon. It was transformed by an earthquake in 2016; 850 million tonnes of sediment were displaced!
We expect Ran to be back in Sweden in January. Every once in a while she takes a rest behind SCOOT’s office/workshop at Nya Varvet in Gothenburg. Please contact us if you want use AUV Ran or if you just want to take look. We plan 10 operational SCOOT days for Ran in 2021.
Tagging elephant seals with sensors gives unique data from the ocean around Antarctica
At SCOOT we are enthusiastic about using robotics for collecting ocean data. The reason is simple: Sensors mounted on crewed platforms (ships) will never manage to increase the amount of data needed to observe and understand our oceans.
However, an uncrewed platform does not have to be a robot – it can also be an animal! SCOOT’s Louise Biddle and Sebastiaan Swart show in a recent research paper in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans what wonderful friends ocean scientists can have in elephant seals, even though these heavy beasts are not famed for their friendliness when approached…
Biddle & Swart investigate climate critical processes in the marginal ice zone around Antarctica, where the ice cover is advancing and retreating seasonally. This is a region where the lack of data is especially severe. Small sensors attached to elephant seals provided Biddle & Swart with ocean data down to 500 meter depth, including locations covered by floating sea ice. The data was retrieved by direct communication with the sensors over satellite.
For anyone feeling that the paper by Biddle & Swart is to heavy, The New York Times picked up this fascinating research in an article, doing a good job at explaining some of the scientific concepts.
We should point out that all scientific work with animals, not least mammals, is strictly regulated. The elephant seals are not harmed or effected negatively by the attached instruments.
SCOOT’s flagrobot AUV Ran is one busy two-tonne-piece of equipment. From the Southern Ocean to the Baltic Sea, and later this year off to New Zeeland. However, last month a window of availability opened… Startup company Marflow AB with founders Erik Nordborg and Glenn Hederot jumped on this opportunity.
“Marflow aims to investigate and map ocean currents with very high accuracy. Precise measurements of the oceanic conditions in both time and space are valuable to us but indeed difficult to achieve in reality. AUV Ran will however allow us to do just that, studying ocean currents along with numerous other parameters with a spatial coverage that we have not been able to do before.”
“Marflow are very excited and happy for this opportunity to try AUV Ran and to discover what we can actually achieve with a tool like this. Before launching, Anna Wåhlin helped us setting up a course for Ran to follow. It was really impressive seeing AUV Ran navigating so accurately along this predefined route in relatively confined waters –all the time logging valuable data.”
A new player has joined the ocean science community in Sweden: VOTO – Voice Of The Ocean. SCOOT is of course delighted that VOTO is a strong believer in automated methods of observations. VOTO has already a fleet of six ocean robots: 4 diving SeaExplorers by Alsemar and 2 surface going Sailbuoys by Offshore Sensing. SCOOT’s director Seb Swart and his team joined VOTO’s SeaExplorer course, read their report!
We will definitely hear more about VOTO and their ocean robots and the data they gather…
The image above shows our autonomous surface vessel SB Kringla being retrieved after the first of two magnificent field seasons. Now she will be upgraded with both an acoustic sensor for measuring currents and an alternative “high wind” sail.
The new sensor will be a Doppler Current Profiler by Aanderaa AS, measuring from the surface down to 30 -50 meters (depending on conditions). SCOOT is proud to be an early adopter of this sensor on an autonomous platform. Measuring the currents in the ocean surface layer can for example tell interesting things about air-sea interaction and the transfer of wind energy to the ocean, especially together with surface wind data, which SB Kringla is already measuring. The new sail is slightly smaller and more optimised for the high wind conditions in the Southern Ocean. Sails are easily switched between deployments. The upgrade (sensor and sail) will be done by Sailbuoy’s manufacturer, Offshore Sensing AS in Norway.
SB Kringla is the first Sailbuoy to be deployed on the Southern hemisphere. SCOOT’s director Sebastiaan Swart often refers to her as “the cute one”, which does not imply that she is spared in any way! Kringla has repeatedly earned battle scars and proven herself as an ultra robust platform in the harshest conditions of the Southern Ocean (see posts from first season and second season). Data from SB Kringla (and the diving Seaglider robots) can be viewed at the website of the project Robotic Observations and Modelling of the Marginal Ice Zone.
The upper video shows a snapshot of SB Kringla during first operator training in Gothenburg. The lower video shows a Sailbuoy battling a storm on the North Sea.
Louise Biddle summarizes the Austral winter-spring season for this robotics heavy project:
The ROAM-MIZ (Robotic Observations And Modelling in the Marginal Ice Zone) project aims to capture high resolution observations of how the upper ocean near and under sea ice responds to sea ice growth or melt. The team, led by SCOOT’s director Sebastiaan Swart at the University of Gothenburg, deployed multiple platforms in, and at the edge of, the marginal ice zone in austral winter and spring 2019. Using the South African icebreaker, the SA Agulhas II, as a deployment platform, three profiling ocean gliders (Seagliders), a surface glider (Offshore Sensing Sailbuoy), multiple wave-recording surface floats (SWIFT buoys) and two ice-moored buoys were deployed between 56-60°S. Between the 10 platforms, over 370 days of data were collected from this remote and under-sampled region of the Southern Ocean, with the longest continuous time-series of over 130 days.
The challenges that the deployment team and platforms faced included rapid freezing up of sensors in temperatures that dropped to minus 20°C (before wind chill), rough seas and rapid movement of sea ice floes. With support from collaborators around the world including CSIR (South Africa), CalTech (USA) and University of East Anglia (UK), this project has demonstrated that autonomous instrumentation holds the capability to explore and monitor some of the most inaccessible oceans on Earth. Data is now being processed by the team based at the University of Gothenburg, with the “live data” viewable on roammiz.com and the first paper recently published in Geophysical Research Letters. Projects update can be followed on @PolarGliders .
Paper: Swart, S., du Plessis, M. D., Thompson, A. F., Biddle, L. C., Giddy, I., Linders, T., et al. ( 2020). Submesoscale fronts in the
Antarctic marginal ice zone and their response to wind forcing. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2019GL086649. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL086649
For the last 20 years, we have used Remotely Operated Vehicles and cameras to monitor the Kosterhavets National Park (click images above for example videos!). A highly-diverse and unique marine reserve in the south of Sweden. Now, we need your help identifying the habitat, species, and presence of litter recorded in over 3,000 hours of underwater videos.
Your answers will allow us to filter out crucial information from the recordings and study how the fauna on the sea floor has changed in response to warmer waters, fishing activities, and changes in environmental protection.
Submerge yourself among large sponges, starfish, and cold-water corals to help us understand the health of the Koster’s sea floor and how we can better protect it.
Words from project owner Victor Valdes
“We are excited to bring you a new way to dive into Sweden’s first marine national park. By classifying the underwater videos you will explore our unique marine biodiversity and enable us to better understand the health of Sweden’s marine ecosystems.”
The Saildrone is one of the most advanced autonomous ocean surface platforms. SCOOT is very pleased to announce that they are visiting us in Gothenburg. They will give an open presentation on October 1st. Welcome!
DATE: Tuesday 01 October 2019, 12:15 pm LOCATION: Carl Skottsbergs Gata 22B SPEAKERS: Sebastien de Halleux, COO, Liz Douglas, International Partnerships
Working with a variety of institutions and governments globally, Saildrone designs and manufactures wind and solar powered unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) which make cost-effective ocean data collection possible at scale and in near real-time. Saildrone USVs carry a full suite of ocean and meteorological sensors, with the option to include other instruments for research such as air-sea fluxes, biomass, bathymetry, and carbon and . Saildrones have been successfully deployed for months in challenging regions of the global oceans.
In this workshop, Sebastien and Liz will detail Saildrone’s capabilities and report on recent missions in the Southern Ocean, the North Sea, the Atlantic, and upcoming missions in the Mediterranean. Typical investigations in these regions include measuring air-sea fluxes and how they may be impacting global energy, hydrological, and carbon cycles. Sebastien and Liz will give a live demo of the Mission Portal, followed by an open discussion regarding in-situ observation needs and challenges from participants.