Marine Institute

Ocean Climate research survey underway on RV Celtic Explorer

June 4, 2019

Annual Ocean Climate Survey 2019. Photo by Tomasz Szumski. The Marine Institute's annual ocean climate research survey is underway on the RV Celtic Explorer and will culminate when the ship arrives in Cork on 6th June, in preparation for SeaFest.

The survey is seeking to collect high quality oceanographic data to contribute to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. The ocean climate survey has been running since 2004 and facilitates long-term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland.

"The generation of long-term time series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources," said Dr Caroline Cusack, who is co-ordinating scientific activities on board. "This annual repeat survey allows us to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark against future changes."

Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, "Adapting to a changing climate is one of the greatest challenges facing society, governments and decision-makers worldwide. Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked, and our Annual Ocean Climate Research Survey is one way in which the Marine Institute is able to observe and understand how our ocean is changing."

The Marine Institute oceanographic and chemistry teams led by Dr. Caroline Cusack and Margot Cronin, along with a team from NUI Galway led by Dr Rachel Cave, are onboard the vessel collecting data on essential ocean and climate variables.

Physical oceanographic data from the survey are also submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas. In addition, the survey will contribute to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the 'Clean Atlantic' project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

With the assistance of the ship's crew, several other related research activities are being carried out by the 16 scientists aboard the research vessel. Additional activities include the deployment of oceanographic gliders, ARGO floats, ocean drifters and monitoring ocean colour data. The RV Celtic Explorer Master, Kenny Dowling, and his skilled crew also successfully deployed the replacement M6 weather buoy and retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station.

All the on-board research will be completed when the RV Celtic Explorer docks in Cork on Thursday 6th June for SeaFest 2019, Ireland's national maritime festival. The ship will be available for vessel tours over the weekend of 7-9th June (open 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-18:00 on Fri 7th June, 10:00-18:00 on Sat 8th June and 10:00-17:00 on Sun 9th June). Visitors will get to see where scientists work, sleep, eat and socialise while on board and will get to meet the vessel's master and crew, and see some of the marine species found in Irish waters.

Weather and ocean climate change will be explored during SeaFest, when Evelyn Cusack, head of forecasting at Mét Éireann, will provide insight into the world of weather forecasting during talks in the Marine Institute's Wild Atlantic Theatre. See more on www.seafest.ie.

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For more information
Please contact Sinead Coyne, Communications Manager, Marine Institute, t. 087 947 7090 or e. sinead [dot] coyne [at] marine [dot] ie