Top 3 Ways Sailors Can Sail for Science!
Planning a circumnavigation or long distance cruise and want to give back underway? Would you like to act as marine stewards of the environment and contribute scientific data or samples that could help us better understand the relationship between man and the sea? Good news, you do not have to be a scientist to participate just be willing to sail for science.
1. You are already keeping a ship’s log, right? Submit your weather observations and help improve both national & international weather prediction models. Only you know the weather at your position, help other mariners navigate safely by sharing what you know. Do note marine mammal encounters, they want that too! Contact your closest, NOAA Port Meteorological Officer if you can commit and join the Vessel Observing Ship Program for your long distance cruise!
Here is an excerpt from a BLOG post I wrote, sharing my experience of transmitting 75+ days’ worth of weather observations in the North Atlantic Gyre last Summer 2013.
“Every observation counts, for every 100 observations on land there is 1 at sea. R/V Ault is an official mobile observation weather station within NOAA’s National Weather Service, Vessel Observing Ship Program. We are tasked to transmit 4 observations daily and are just 1 of 1000′s of land and sea based weather observation stations that contribute to big picture snapshots of the world’s weather. Besides ships and aircraft there are weather balloons released twice a day, upper air stations that reach past the troposphere, where most surface weather occurs, to obtain data to project weather past observation to prediction. Can you imagine 1000′s of balloons around the world being released twice every day sounding the skies? All of these observation sources combined are the foundation for weather warnings, forecasts and even climate change prediction research.”
2. Island hopping? Hey Skipper wherever you go, there may be a variety of data collection projects you could collect critical samples from, such as water/microplastics samples or even a land based road kill survey. Check in with the Adventures and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) and they can help match you with a project. This Spring, on our Pacific Plastic Pollution Survey we are also going to provide samples to ASC because we will already be out there conducting research so we might as well survey once and sample often to provide as much data to scientists trying to get to the bottom of the plastic pollution issue.
3. Have room to spare? Take some drifters with you and drop them in places throughout the world. They are mobile weather and climate observations buoys, free floating for up to 10 years transmitting updates continuously in all weather. We dropped 5 on our way out to the North Atlantic Gyre’s center last summer and 10 on the way back to the Chesapeake Bay to help improve the 2014 hurricane prediction models. Check in with NOAA’s Global Drifter Program and see if they need a drifter deployed.