Industry News

Sea-Bird Scientific Plays Vital Role in Upgrading Ocean Probe Network

In a recent article in the journal Nature, Jeff Tollefson of Sea-Bird Scientific discussed how the next generation robotic explorers are helping scientists document effects of global climate change in world’s toughest ocean environments. Sea-Bird Scientific provides cutting-edge technology in support of this vital mission.

To scientists, it’s become clear that the ocean functions as a climate engine and that the carbon cycle is linked to ocean circulation, absorption, and other phenomena. In fact, the oceans currently absorb about a third of human-created CO2 emissions, roughly 22 million tons a day. While ocean acidification is well documented in a few temperate ocean waters, little is known in high latitudes, coastal areas, and the deep sea. Oceanographers are already using data from more than 3,900 floats in the international Argo array for measuring temperature and salinity for depths up to 2000 meters.

The $21-million (USD) Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling Project (SOCCOM) project is deploying floats with additional sensors for measuring seawater chemistry and biological activity. The Argo program is considering expansion to include floats upgraded to go as deep as 6000 meters that will provide data visibility on 99% of the world's seawater. The global community is also considering expanding Argo to include biogeochemical floats such as those used in SOCCOM. By deploying around 200 advanced probes to monitor the waters around Antarctica, scientists should be able to greatly improve their understanding of the heat and CO2 that flows into the Southern Ocean.

Speaking to Tollefson for the Nature article, Joellen Russell, an oceanographer at the University of Arizona in Tucson and leader of SOCCOM’s modelling team, said “The Southern Ocean is very important, and it’s also very poorly known because it’s just so incredibly miserable to work down there.”

Sea-Bird Scientific combines the capabilities of Sea-Bird Electronics, WET Labs, and Satlantic to provide best-of-class sensors and systems for oceanographic research and environmental water quality monitoring. The company manufactures approximately 1000 SBE 41/41CP CTDs per year, supplying more than 90% of the annual Argo program requirement as well as a growing market in non-Argo float applications.

Sea-Bird also manufactures and supplies SBE 61 CTDs for the Deep Argo program, as well as Navis autonomous profiling floats for Argo, with Sea-Bird CTD and sufficient power for 300 CTD profile cycles to 2000 dbars. The company manufactures a range of sensors such as the SBE 63 oxygen sensor, ECO/MCOMS fluorometer, SUNA nitrate sensor, and Float Deep pH sensor for SOCCOM.

Sea-Bird's Inductive Modem (IM) system for moorings provides reliable, real-time data transmission for up to 100 instruments that can be positioned or repositioned at any depth, without the use of cable connectors. To learn more about Sea-Bird Scientific, click here.

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