From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean
Saildrone unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) provide an unprecedented opportunity to learn about distant marine environments. Powered by wind and solar energy and equipped with an array of instruments to monitor ocean and atmospheric conditions, saildrones can perform missions up to 12 months in the harshest ocean conditions without disturbing the marine ecosystem they are surveying.
Two Saildrone USVs, known as SD 1030 and SD 1053, were launched from the Canary Islands on October 18, 2019. The mission concluded in Trieste, Italy, on July 17, 2020.
ATL2MED consisted of two main phases:
Phase 1: The vehicles sailed south toward Cabo Verde where they completed an eddy survey of the Canary Current Upwelling System (CanCS) off of West Africa led by the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research (GEOMAR).
Phase 2: The saildrones took CO2 measurements and performed cross-calibrations with European Research Infrastructure (RI), a series of ocean moorings managed by Spain, France, and Italy, led by the Integrated Carbon Observation System, Ocean Thematic Center (ICOS OTC).
Bringing Together the Ocean Science Community
The ATL2MED mission represents Saildrone’s commitment to the power of the public-private partnership model.
ATL2MED was generously sponsored by PEAK6, a private technology and investment firm started by Jenny Just and Matt Hulsizer. By supporting the ATL2MED mission, PEAK6 sought to catalyze world-class science, encouraging participants to think differently and use cutting-edge technology to accelerate new insights about our oceans that impact humanity.
Scientists from 12 oceanographic research institutions from seven countries provided inputs into the mission plan as the two saildrones moved through the phases of the ATL2MED cruise. Saildrone and the participating research organizations contributed to the mission through a combination of financial and in-kind contributions.
Collecting Critical Ocean Variables
Saildrone collaborated with scientific experts to collect high-quality data related to Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) during the 3,200 nautical mile mission from Cabo Verde to the Mediterranean.
Saildrones measured the rate of CO2 absorption by the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea using the high-accuracy ASVCO2 sensor developed by NOAA PMEL.
Saildrones collected cross-calibration data at nine observing stations to validate in-situ CO2 measurements taken from European moorings with a various sensors.
Saildrones surveyed eddies in the Canary Current Upwelling System to understand the transport of biogeochemical properties and biomass distribution.
Saildrones used their full suite of metocean sensors to collect valuable data for weather forecasting and ecosystem modeling.