Environmental Monitoring – January

Ashtead Delivers Installation
Monitoring Services at Utgard

Ashtead Technology has successfully completed a subsea installation monitoring project for Subsea 7 in support of Equinor’s Utgard development in the central North Sea.

The contract, which was awarded by i-Tech Services on behalf of Subsea 7, saw Ashtead’s deflection monitoring system (DMS) used to capture critical data required to safely deploy a subsea template in water depths of 110 m from a Subsea 7 vessel.

The DMS monitors structure deflection, heading, pitch, roll, depth and suction at differential pressures in real time.

MacArtney Tech Monitors
Water Level in Wadden Sea

Since June 2018 MacArtney Germany has delivered, maintained and serviced water level measuring stations in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site near the Island of Sylt.

The measuring stations comprise a 2.5-m-long stainless steel pole that is vertically anchored in the tidal flats. The pressure sensors are positioned approximately 20 cm above the seabed to determine changing water levels. On the upper part of the pole is the Tide Master device and modem. The water levels are measured every 10 min. over a distance of 16 km along the Hindenburg dam, which links the Island of Sylt with the mainland.

The systems were operated for about four months.

Enhancing Observations
From OOI Cabled Array

In July 2018, a team of researchers and engineers from Rutgers University and the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory deployed the Cabled Observatory Vent Imaging Sonar (COVIS) to the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Cabled Array. COVIS, a multibeam acoustic sensor, is installed at 1,600-m depth at the ASHES hydrothermal vent field within the Caldera of Axial Seamount, an active volcano on the Juan de Fuca plate spreading zone, 300 mi. off the Oregon coast.

Selecting a site for COVIS and calibrating the sound backscatter response to heat content after installation required high-frequency measurements of the hot water being expelled from diffuse venting sites around ASHES. The COVIS team built temperature arrays using RBRsolo³ temperature and RBRduet³ temperature and depth loggers.

Two of the arrays were recovered for immediate data analysis, and the remaining three will stay on site for a year. Upon recovery in 2019, they will provide data for groundtruthing the acoustic results from COVIS.

Marine Robots to Improve
UK Weather Forecasts

In October, the RRS James Cook departed on an expedition during which a new automated system of collecting climate data was trialed. The new technology could help improve long-range European weather forecasts in the future.

A team of scientists from the U.K. National Oceanography Centre (NOC) was on board to acquire data from an array of instruments in the Atlantic Ocean, between Africa’s West Coast and the U.S. East Coast. Data from these instruments, referred to collectively as the RAPID array, are gathered once every 18 months by a research ship, but on this expedition the researchers were testing a new system using marine robots to retrieve data from the instruments.

The RAPID array instruments were deployed on moorings. A new unit, developed by NOC, was attached to a mooring to gather data from all the instruments on the wire and then transmit the data using sound signals to a Wave Glider at the sea surface, which sent data by satellite to scientists at NOC.

MVPs to Map Irish Waters

The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) has purchased AML Oceanographic’s moving vessel profiler (MVP) to improve the productivity, safety and data quality of their survey operations. Working in partnership with the Marine Institute of Ireland under the joint program INFOMAR, they have committed to having all Irish waters mapped by 2026. The addition of MVP30-350 systems to two 16-m survey catamarans will facilitate on-time completion of the project.

The underway profiling systems will automatically and continuously collect SVPT and output the data to the multibeam echosounder in real time while the vessel travels at 8 to 10 kt.

The first of the two systems was commissioned aboard RV Mallet in November 2018, with delivery of the second MVP30-350 for RV Keary to occur in 2019.

Government Must Address Climate Change, ACS Says

In light of the release of the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II, the American Chemical Society (ACS) urges policy makers to address humanity’s role in climate change and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; the report should move the administration and Congress to take immediate steps to deal with this growing crisis.

As noted in the ACS policy position on Global Climate Change: “The American Chemical Society (ACS) acknowledges that climate change is real, is serious and has been influenced by anthropogenic activity. Unmitigated climate change will lead to increases in extreme weather events and will cause significant sea level rise, causing property damage and population displacement. It also will continue to degrade ecosystems and natural resources, affecting food and water availability and human health, further burdening economies and societies. Continued uncontrolled GHG emissions will accelerate and compound the effects and risks of climate change well into the future.”

ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress.