This Tuesday marked a milestone onboard Malizia: at 14:41 UTC Boris Herrmann and Will Harris released a state-of-the-art surface drifter into the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of the Cape Verde islands. It is one of 100 new technology buoys developed for the EU Copernicus TRUSTED project and will be joining about 1400 operational drifters around the world, of which some 430 are in the Atlantic.


The drifter will be able to measure sea surface temperature and air pressure, as well as surface current. From its remote position in the ocean, the buoy sends frequent highly accurate scientific data updates to the “Global Telecommunication System” (GTS), an international data network of the World Meteorological Organization. This platform allows forecasters and scientists around the world to access the information – for free. The deployment is part of a partnership with UNESCO’s IOC, coordinated by the support and monitoring center JCOMMOPS.


The global project will help scientists around the world to gain a better understanding of the ocean and how natural and human-induced changes will affect it. It will also significantly improve the accuracy of modern weather forecasting and weather models, which are an integral part of ocean racing.


This process has been especially exciting for Will Harris, who earned a degree in Oceanography and Physical Geography at the University of Southampton in 2015.
He has remained very interested in ocean currents and environmental changes and was happy to take on the job of releasing a drifter himself.


For Team Malizia, the deployment marks another step towards creating a sustainable future. Their Ocean Challenge initiative has been a pioneer project in the sailing world and strives to raise awareness for climate change and its effects on the oceans. The team works closely with both GEOMAR and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology to gather data onboard Malizia and support the vital research the two facilities conduct. Thus, it has been a great honor to collaborate with Copernicus and UNESCO’s IOC for the drifter deployment. Underway instrumentation on ships, such as Malizia’s OceanPack, along with surface drifters, floats, gliders, and other autonomous systems, as well as larger research vessels, make up the integrated Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the backbone of global forecasting and marine research.

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