Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sailors braving treacherous waters for science

Date:
December 6, 2009
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
Scientists working to validate data from ESA’s water mission SMOS, launched in November, will get help from skippers competing in the SolOceans around-the-world single-handed race.

Skipper Liz Wardley embarked on the Reference Around-the-world Tour of the SolOceans racecourse from Normandy, France, aboard one of the SolOceans One-design yachts on 29 November 2009. Onboard sensors will collect sea surface salinity data of the oceans she will be crossing along the race’s course. Scientists working to validate SMOS data will compare the satellite's measurements to the measurements taken from the sailing boat.
Credit: Jean-Marie Liot - SailingOne

Scientists working to validate data from ESA's water mission SMOS, launched in November, will get help from skippers competing in the SolOceans around-the-world single-handed race.

The SolOceans race marks the first time in oceanic racing that a fleet of identical high-tech yachts has had a scientific vocation.

The MIRAS instrument on the SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) Earth Explorer satellite was switched on last week and is now mapping ocean salinity and soil moisture to improve our understanding of Earth's water cycle.

In order to validate the accuracy of the measurements, the data have to be compared with in situ measurements. Yet, in situ data are currently unevenly collected around the planet, with large gaps missing from areas such as the Southern Hemisphere, and are not collected frequently enough.

Sailors competing in the SolOceans race will collect oceanic and atmospheric measurements along their 48 000-km maritime route, which carries them to little-explored areas south of the three continental capes on identical SolOceans One-design yachts.

The SolOceans One-design is a real scientific vessel that meets the standards defined by some of the most distinguished researchers working on climate change. Each yacht carries an OceanoScientific Kit to collect eight types of data defined by scientists: sea-surface salinity, wind direction, wind speed, air humidity, air temperature, atmospheric pressure, sea surface temperature and partial pressure of carbon dioxide in sea surface water.

On Sunday, skipper Liz Wardley embarked on the Reference Around-the-world Tour of the SolOceans racecourse from Normandy, France, aboard one of the SolOceans One-design yachts. Sensors will collect sea-surface salinity data of the oceans she will be crossing along the race's course.

"I work and play on the ocean all year long and see firsthand how humans hurt our planet. Until now I have never had the opportunity or knowhow to help understand and prevent such phenomenon as global warming. It is with great honour and pleasure that I set off on this adventure to collect data and observations to send to scientists worldwide," Wardley told ESA.

The first leg will carry her from France to New Zealand via South Africa's Cape of Good Hope and around Australia's Cape Leeuwin. The second leg goes from New Zealand back to France, sailing south into the Pacific Ocean and around South America's Cape Horn before navigating north through the Southern and Northern Atlantic towards France, where she is expected to return in mid-March.

The data acquisition is fully automated, so Wardley will not need to intervene with the instruments. The acquired data will be digitised and transmitted automatically to scientists on shore by satellite.

"The rate of acquisition of those data will vary between every minute to every hour depending on the variable and our scientific needs," said Fabienne Gaillard, a French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER) researcher at the Oceans Physics Laboratory, who is in charge of the 'Global Ocean Sea Surface Salinity: Calibration and Validation' project for SMOS.

"An automatic transmission between the sea and the shore will be scheduled and data will be sent to operational centres for immediate use in forecasts and satellite validation campaigns."

To validate SMOS data, scientists need to compare its measurements against datasets of a known quality that extend over significant geographical areas spanning various geophysical conditions and provide sufficient temporal coverage. With its scientific sensors and course through little-explored areas, the SolOceans data fulfil these requirements.

SMOS satellite data and SolOceans validation data will be statistically analysed and compared. Any discrepancies between the two will have to be interpreted and recommendations for recalibration, retrieval algorithm change or reprocessing techniques will have to be made.

Data provided by MIRAS will be important for weather and climate modelling, water resource management, agriculture planning, ocean currents and circulation studies and forecasting hazardous events such as floods.

SolOceans was set up by SailingOne to combine sport and scientific research. The scientific research is being carried out by the OceanoScientific Campaign, organised by SailingOne with the help of IFREMER, Météo-France, INSU-CNRS (Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers -- Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), CONTROS and the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Germany's University of Kiel (IFM-GEOMAR).

The first SolOceans race begins in October 2011, with races taking place every two years thereafter. Each leg lasts 50-55 days.

You can follow Liz Wardley onboard the One-design yacht on the SolOceans website at http://www.soloceans.com/en/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Sailors braving treacherous waters for science." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091206185151.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2009, December 6). Sailors braving treacherous waters for science. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091206185151.htm
European Space Agency. "Sailors braving treacherous waters for science." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091206185151.htm (accessed July 27, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Reuters - US Online Video (July 26, 2014) — A giant wall of dust slowly moves north over the Phoenix area after a summer monsoon thunderstorm. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Lemur Among Baby Animals Debuted at Cleveland Zoo

Rare Lemur Among Baby Animals Debuted at Cleveland Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (July 26, 2014) — A rare baby Lemur is among several baby animals getting their public debut at a Cleveland zoo. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins