FerryBox: from on-line oceanographic observations to environmental information. EU Project FerryBox 2002–2005

Petersen, W.; Colijn, F.; Hydes, D.; Schroeder, F.. 2007 FerryBox: from on-line oceanographic observations to environmental information. EU Project FerryBox 2002–2005. Amsterdam, The Netherlands, EuroGOOS, 36pp. (EuroGOOS Publication 25)

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The EU Science Framework 5 funded the highly successful project “FerryBox” from 2002 to 2005. The project enabled the cooperation of 11 organisations and established the coordinated use of commercial ferry ships for the collection of scientific data. This has been an important step towards achieving the cost-effective extension of the European marine observational and reporting network envisioned in the EuroGOOS concept. The 11 partners operated on 9 shipping routes around Europe, from the eastern Mediterranean to the Baltic. Four core parameters were measured on all the routes, alongside other route-specific measurements. Common data quality control and archiving procedures were adopted, and the data from the project period are available from BODC. Technologically the project was successful in: i) Establishing the operational use of FerryBox systems ii) Validating the systems with respect to operability, reliability, and long-term stability iii) Evaluating commercially available versions of the four core sensors for temperature, salinity, turbidity, and chlorophyll a fluorescence iv) Proving the scientific value of enhanced FerryBox systems for observations of currents and sediment transport (ADCP), pH, oxygen, nutrients and algal species. Quality control of the data was a key issue. The different sensors were assessed in such a way that reliable comparisons between the data sets are possible. The scientific value of the detailed near-continuous observations possible with FerryBox systems was proved in studies which: i) Improved knowledge of the transport of water, particularly in the North Sea and into the English Channel. ii) Provided a coordinated view of eutrophication and plankton productivity across national boundaries iii)Used the advanced technology to determine the transport of sediments over long and short spatial and temporal scales iv)Validated the benefits of regular FerryBox measurements, improving the numerical model through data assimilation and calibration. v) Demonstrated the mutual benefit of linking remote sensing (satellite) observations with more direct FerryBox measurements. Throughout the EU FerryBox project the experience was that the costs for the procurement of instrumentation and the sensors and installation costs were relatively low. Standard components are used along with infrastructure already present on the ships (e.g. cable channels, water and energy supplies). The typical investment costs start in the range of 50 000 EUR for fitting the four core sensors and data logging and transmission systems, and then increase as extra sensors are added. Educational outreach installations in the passenger areas cost around 5000–10000 EUR. Operational costs of FerryBox systems need to cover the following activities: • servicing and maintenance • calibration and referencing • system operation and control • data quality control • pre- and post-processing • archiving up to the stage “ready to use for applications”. The main cost factor is personnel. For the FerryBox project this amounted to 3 to 4 person months/year/system.

Item Type: Publication - Report (Other)
Date made live: 11 Feb 2008 +0 (UTC)

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