Science

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What can Odyssey sailors do?

The Ocean is the last wild frontier of our planet, and despite its health being vital to the planet’s wellbeing, scientists admit that there is still much they do not know about the state of the seas. Who better then to help expand that knowledge than sailors, who voyage across some of the most remote areas of the ocean?

Why use sailors for science?

ALYTES crew (Atlantic Odyssey 2014) ready to deploy a drifting buoy, which takes measurements at the surface of the ocean.

We need volunteer vessels to deploy autonomous instruments in all ocean areas, and in particular where no commercial shipping routes transit.
JCOMMOPS (Joint Technical Commission of the World Meteorological Organization and IOC-UNESCO)

The scarcity of data from much of the Ocean is a major problem for scientists and meteorologists as data is largely concentrated on the major shipping routes of the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and there are enormous ‘data sparse areas’, such as the Southern and Arctic Ocean, and remote parts of the South Pacific.

Onboard ship observations have been at the heart of marine science and weather throughout history, and even now, with the advent of satellite observations, the data that ships and other vessels can provide remains of great importance. Ship observations are a sort of ‘ground truth’ to correlate with satellite observations.

Scientists are increasingly recognising that sailors can play their part – and so Odyssey participants are invited to take part in the following projects in partnership with research and scientific institutions around the world.

Gathering data about climate, weather and oceans

Under the auspices of IOC-UNESCO and other oceanographic research institutions.

Our partnership with IOC-UNESCO
Cornell Sailing Events is collaborating with UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and other institutions on oceanographic research.
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Sending back the weather

Report weather info to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) from your boat, using specially designed software.
Find out more

Deploying drifting buoys

Satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys (“drifters”) record the currents, the temperature and the atmospheric pressure at the ocean surface.
Find out moreSee The Drifters Deployment Hall of Fame (a record of all the Odyssey boats which have deployed drifter buoys).

Deploying Argo floats

Argo floats collect high-quality temperature and salinity profiles from the upper 2000m of the ice-free global ocean and currents from intermediate depths.
Find out moreSee The Argo Floats Deployment Hall of Fame (a record of the Odyssey boats which have deployed Argo floats).

Observing marine life

From microscopic plankton to the great whales of the oceans, marine wildlife is being affected by climate change, whether through increasing ocean acidification or the disruption of weather patterns. Odyssey sailors will be able to contribute data by participating in the following schemes.

Observing marine plankton

Gather data on marine plankton using a Secchi Disk.
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Observing sea birds

Help seabird conservation by reporting your sightings at sea to the SeaBC Sea Bird Count for Cornell University’s Ornithology eBird database.
Find out more

Observing other marine wildlife

We will be submitting data on marine wildlife observed to OBIS, the Ocean Biogeographic Information System . We encourage sailors to log sightings and take photographs. We have a Wildlife Logging Form on the Downloads page.

Monitoring plastic pollution

Tracking the plastic

Use the free Marine Debris tracker app and report where you find marine debris or litter on the ocean.
Find out more

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