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The ocean race is on the side of science

In the world of sports, competition doesn’t just reign. s Ocean Race is an example because the regatta around the world will be placed alongside science and research because for the approximately six months that it will run, Measuring microplastic pollution, collecting information on the impact of climate change on the oceans and collecting data to improve global weather forecasting. The presented scientific program is ambitious but realistic.

All boats participating in The Ocean Race will be transported on board Specialized equipment to measure a series of variables along a 60,000 kilometer route, which will be analyzed by scientists from eight major research organizations to better understand the state of the ocean. As they sail through some of the most remote parts of the planet, which science vessels rarely reach, teams will have a unique opportunity to collect vital data in regions lacking information about two of the biggest threats to the health of the seas: the Impact of climate change and plastic pollution.

This scientific program, which was launched during the 2017-2018 edition of the race in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing, will collect an even larger set of data this edition, including For the first time the levels of oxygen and trace elements in the water will be calculated. Data will also be delivered more quickly to scientific partners as it will be transmitted via satellite and will reach organizations including the World Meteorological Organization, the National Oceanographic Center, the Max Planck Society, the National Center for Scientific Research, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. , in real time. Stefan Raymond, Science Lead for The Ocean Race, commented, “uNot only is a healthy ocean vital to the sport we love, it also regulates the climate, provides food for billions of people, and provides half of the planet’s oxygen.. Its decline has an impact on the entire world. To stop it, we must provide scientific evidence to governments and organizations and demand that they act accordingly. We are uniquely positioned to contribute to this change.”

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Many efforts have gone into trying to collect as much environmental data as possible during this edition of The Ocean Race, and the following stand out:

Climate change indicators: Two boats, Team 11 Hours Racing and Team Malaysia, will carry OceanPacks, which collect water samples to measure carbon dioxide and oxygen levels, salinity and temperature, and provide information on the impact of climate change on the ocean. Elements such as iron, zinc, copper and manganese, which are vital to the growth of plankton, an essential organism because it is the first part of the food chain and the largest producer of oxygen in the ocean, will also be captured. the time.

Plastic pollution: GUYOT environment – Team Europe and Holcim – PRB will regularly take water samples during the race to detect microplastics. The samples will be analyzed to determine which plastic product the fragments came from (for example, a bottle or bag).

Meteorological data: The entire fleet will carry weather sensors on board to measure wind speed, direction and air temperature. Some teams will also drop drifting buoys into the Southern Ocean to continuously capture these measurements, along with location data, which helps better understand how currents and weather are changing. Weather data will help improve weather forecasting and is particularly valuable in forecasting extreme weather events, as well as revealing information about long-term climate trends.

Ocean biodiversity: Biotherm is collaborating with the Tara Ocean Foundation to test a pilot research project to study ocean biodiversity during a regatta. An automated microscope on board the ship will take pictures of marine phytoplankton at the ocean surface, which will be analyzed to provide information on the diversity of phytoplankton in the ocean, along with biodiversity, food webs and the carbon cycle.

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Ugo Vonnola / Volvo Ocean RaceUgo Fonnola / Volvo AB

everybody The data collected is open source It is shared with the scientific partners of The Ocean Race, a number of organizations around the world that study the impact of human activity on the ocean, and is incorporated into various reports, such as those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ) and databases such as the Ocean Surface Carbon Dioxide Atlas, which provides data for the Global Carbon Budget, an annual assessment of carbon dioxide that provides targets and forecasts for carbon reduction. Veronique Garçonne, Chief Scientist at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), stated, “The Scientific Ocean Race program is vital to the scientific community and its work in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences. Data collected by ships from remote parts of the world, where information is scarce, is particularly valuable. Simply put, the more data we have, the more accurately we will understand the ability of the ocean to deal with climate change and predict what will happen to the climate in the future. “

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