Sailors in the service of science to combat climate change


Few sports closely embrace nature like Villa Ivetica. This union causes sailors to be witnesses to the exception to the human impact on the oceans. Some time ago, thanks to the commitment of the regattas themselves and sponsors, the sailors also took action, becoming actors in the race. Scientific research on climate change At the same time they face rivals and seaside items.

Ocean Race in Europe, Whose first edition will drop berths next Saturday in Lorient (France) with 12 boats on the starting line, will be an exceptional platform to test the effectiveness of this scientific-mathematical alliance. Three ships will carry science teams participating on board to do so Precise plastic measurements On water and data on the impact of climate change on the seas, a collection of information that supports it United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

“La caracterstica singular de The Ocean Race.” [la vuelta al mundo con sede y salida en Alicante y organizadora de la regata continental] Is that boats are traveling at lightning speed, ”he highlights Eric Van Sebel, An oceanographer at Utrecht University. “This speed gives us a great opportunity, because it means it The measurements are made at different sites with a minimum of time in between, So that the ocean currents do not change during sampling, which greatly facilitates interpretation of the observations, “explains the scientist.

“We are the eyes of scholars and their differences”

Simon Fisher, Navigante Dell 11 Hour Race. | Amore Ross

Two teams from VO65, and Amber sail 2 Led by Lithuanian Rocas Milivitsios And the AkzoNobel Ocean Racing Dutch from Chris Nicholson, Will collect microplastics samples during competition, while IMOCA 60, and 11-hour race team from Charlie EnrightTake measurements of surface carbon dioxide (CO2), sea temperature and salinity, all of which are indicators of climate change.

Simon FisherThe 11th Hour Racing Team Navigator will be a Continental Test participant who will have to monitor his work as a scientific data collector. “Citizen science is something I particularly enjoy because I studied chemistry at university,” says the Briton, who is preparing to make his sixth trip around the world next year. “[Los regatistas] We are very fortunate that we are often at sea, both in training and in competitionThis gives us the opportunity to be the eyes and ears of scientists. From reporting the marine mammals we see to collecting data with the scientific equipment we carry on board, ”SiFi sums up.

Regarding the scientific equipment on board the USS, Fisher highlights “OceanPack,” which is a modern machine. ” Transmits high-quality, real-time oceanographic data on salinity, carbon dioxide levels and water temperature to land; This data is used to improve models and predictions about ocean health and climate change. ”

The racing team sends 11 hour CO2 measurements to Ocean Surface Atlas of Carbon Dioxide (SOCAT – Carbon Dioxide Atlas of the Ocean’s Surface), data for which are directed to Global carbon budget, Which is an annual carbon dioxide assessment that reports on carbon reduction goals and projections. With the results obtained, scientists will be able to establish an accurate budget that will help the scientist to achieve a goal Paris Agreement To reduce global warming to less than 1.5 ° C.

The 11-hour race team led by Charlie Enright Mark Tawil, Is an example of a sports project with sustainable goals. The idea was conceived in 2010 by a group of sailors who used to sail with them Wendy Schmidt, Wife of former Google CEO and co-founder of The Schmidt Family, who decided to apply his charity’s approach to the world of regattas. Its goal is twofold: to advance solutions and practices to conserve the oceans and to win the next ocean race.

“Sustainable practices are fully integrated into our boating team.”, On Simon Fisher. “We are conducting a construction life cycle study for our new IMOCA 60 in order to set new standards for future buildings. We work with Lineat experts from University of Bristol On the carbon recycling program we’re about to publish Sustainability, A series of practical guides so that sports teams, events and organizations can implement their own sustainability programs, regardless of their size, ”comments on some of the initiatives launched by his team.

Graphic threats

El IMOCA del 11th Hour Racing.  |  Amore Ross

El IMOCA del 11th Hour Racing. | Amore Ross

The importance of having as comprehensive as possible a study of the state of the oceans is fundamental to its preservation. Climate change and plastic pollution are among the biggest threats to the health of the seas. The ocean plays a vital role in regulating the climate. It absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat produced by humans Since the 1970s, a quarter of the carbon dioxide produced by humans has also been absorbed, helping to effectively mitigate climate change. On the other hand, plastic is a more obvious problem, at least 8 million tons end up in the ocean every yearThat harm or get involved in marine species that eat them.

Data collected during The Ocean Race Europe will be sent to scientific organizations that study and map these problems. EuroSeaIt is a funded program European Commission Which assesses the ocean’s role in climate change and improves the ocean monitoring system, using dissolved CO2 measurements taken by the 11th Hour Racing Team. During the ocean race in Europe, ships will cross the western Mediterranean, which is one of the most important points in the world for carbon uptake by the ocean and one of the priority areas for EuroSea in its carbon auditing project.

“The Mediterranean is very effective at absorbing carbon dioxide, but its ability to do so can vary and needs to be closely monitored, which makes this additional data very useful. Working alongside the sailing community on this research, it’s a great opportunity to share Interest and passion for the sea with a common goal, ” Tanhua toast, From EuroSea, on the importance of the data to be obtained in the Continental Race. “The ocean provides a great service to humanity By absorbing massive amounts of carbon dioxide and heat. EuroSea is improving the way these benefits are measured and understood, including the monetary value it brings, ”Tanhua argues.

In cooperation with GEOMAR Helmholtz Ocean Research Center Kiel W. Utrecht University, Data collected by VO65 teams will contribute to the development of a 3D map of all the plastic in our surroundings, providing measurements in areas where there is currently a data shortage. The samples will be analyzed by scientists from the GEOMAR laboratory and the data will be designed by a team from Utrecht University that will investigate the potential for transporting microplastics into the food chain and deep-sea ecosystems.

The science project is part of the sustainability program “Race with a goal” Ocean Race, which brings together various initiatives by which a positive impact on the marine environment can be made: from the information that seafarers collect for scientists to actions that target children so that they have the necessary knowledge about how to help the ocean. Another pillar of the program is high-level conferences to encourage global opinion leaders to design policies to protect and govern the ocean, work with the world’s leading NGOs and organizations, and much more. In this sense, we will celebrate June 16th The pinnacle of ocean racing in EuropeTo rely on, among other personalities and experts, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen; Virginius SynciviusEuropean Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries S. Teresa RiberaMinister of Environmental Transformation of the government. This summit was born with the aim of searching for solutions to the lack of governance and protection for our seas, the impact of climate change and analyzing whether “rights” should be granted to the oceans.

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