Science during Adventure 2013

We’re really excited to be involved with two science projects during Adventure 2013. Many of us involved in the trip are scientists and we’re keen to collect any useful data that we can and to share our enthusiasm for science with others.

Elinca will be a Voluntary Observing Ship for the Met Office, with our data being fed in to the global WMO program. Elinca will be loaned a barograph and a precision aneroid barometer by the Met Office. We will receive training before our departure on how to make observations. Twice a day we will record weather conditions such as wind speed and direction, air temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity and the cloud types at different heights in the sky. This data will be encoded and sent to the Met Office via our satellite link.

Observations from ships are very useful. Using images and data from satellites meteorologists can see how weather systems are developing around the world. However, the meteorologists need observations from ships and weather stations to combine with the satellite data to give accurate forecasts of the conditions on the ground and at sea. Because we will be visiting parts of the world that few other people visit our data will be particularly valuable to the Met Office.

The second project that we are involved with is Plymouth University’s Secchi Disk experiment. Every day we will lower a Secchi disk into the water and measure the depth at which we can no longer see the disk. The depth at which the disk disappears gives a measurement of the turbidity of the water. Away from land, the turbidity of the sea is influenced by the amount phytoplankton in the water. Phytoplankton are microscopic bacteria or plants. They account for 50% of all photosynthesis on Earth and so convert a massive amount of the Sun’s energy into food that feeds into the food chain in the oceans. Phytoplankton are sensitive to changes in the temperature of the sea. To understand how the amount of phytoplankton in our oceans are changing Plymouth University are asking vessels around the world to use Secchi disks to collect data so that their scientists can estimate the amount of phytoplankton in the oceans.

If anyone else has any ideas for science that we can carry out during Adventure 2013 then please get in touch with us. We have a wide variety of scientists and engineers on board Elinca who are keen to help. We are limited by the amount of space available for equipment, power available and being able to send real time data back, but we would love to get involved with as much science as possible.

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