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Buoys provide new environmental monitoring system along Swedish coast

With a new system of monitoring buoys along the entire coast of Sweden, researchers will be better able to study climate change. The project, funded by the Swedish Research Council, is led by Gothenburg University in a collaboration involving five Swedish marine organizations.

"To be able to determine whether our seas are changing as a result of human activities, such as emissions of greenhouse gases, measurements must be performed. Until now these measurements have been done sporadically by researchers on board ships, which is extremely expensive. With automatic metering equipment we will be able to gather considerably more measurement data," says Professor Katarina Abrahamsson, who directs the Sven Lovén Center for Marine Sciences at Gothenburg University and is leading the project.

With the automatic metering buoys, researchers hope to fill in huge gaps in our knowledge today, such as how acidity levels (pH) vary along our coasts. Data series with high time resolution yield unique opportunities for researchers to better understand physical, chemical, and biological processes in the sea.

The environmental monitoring system will consist of some ten buoys to be placed at representative sites around the entire coast of Sweden. The buoys will be equipped with sensors that continuously meter salinity, temperature, prevalence of plankton, oxygen, nutritive salts, acidity, and flow velocity. The measurements are sent to land and made available to researchers.

"Thanks to these new monitoring buoys, basic research will be provided with new knowledge. The measurement results will be important for society's planning of measures to reduce the footprint of humans on the environment. The grant from the Swedish Research Council is a recognition of our efforts to create an aggregate Swedish marine infrastructure," says Katarina Abrahamsson.

This work is a collaborative project involving Gothenburg University, Stockholm University, Umea University, Linnaeus University, and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.

CONTACT: Katarina Abrahamsson, phone: +46 (0)31-786 90 51, katarina.abrahamsson@loven.gu.se

idw :: 18.11.2011