To create a resilient ocean and a stable planet, scientific consensus calls for the protection of 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. Achieving this goal means gathering broad yet actionable marine data to inform global ocean policies.
Research foundation Nekton undertakes missions for and on behalf of island and coastal nations to gather the data needed to galvanise ocean protection and management.
As part of a series of missions in partnership with the Indian Ocean region, Nekton will undertake a 2020 research expedition in the Maldives. During preparation, they identified a need to understand the impact of weather on the safe transport of their underwater technology to various research locations.
The 35-day expedition will utilise 21 cutting-edge research and communications technologies, such as autonomous underwater vehicles and submersibles (including the only submersible in the world that has gone to full ocean depth in all the world’s oceans).
As with any marine operation, the expedition will be subject to changing weather conditions. To understand when and where it will be safe to deploy, Nekton identified the need for information on weather downtime and weather windows.
Safe marine operations require suitable working weather windows; minimum periods of time when wave height, wind speed and other factors will allow different equipment to be safely deployed. Monthly statistics of the time likely to be spent waiting for weather windows, and the proportion of expected workable time overall, will help Nekton to optimise the expedition timetable through choice of equipment and operational methodology.
To source and apply this required information, Nekton will use ABPmer’s global weather downtime calculator, Weather Downtime Express (WDTX). The calculator will simulate Nekton’s planned activities (location, task duration and limiting metocean conditions), using thirty years of validated hindcast weather data, to provide operation specific statistics for weather downtime and extended task duration. This information will help Nekton make confident assessments of the expected impact of weather on their expedition.
Bespoke monthly weather window and statistics will be developed using global data sourced from ABPmer’s SEASTATES metocean information service. Nekton will need to consider seasonal variability in wind speed, waves and currents when planning the location and timing of a range of on-site activities, which may be differently sensitive to these factors.
During the mission, Nekton will research biological, chemical and physical indicators of change in the Indian Ocean to galvanise ocean conservation awareness in the Maldives and generate the public mandate for political action.
The insights provided by WDTX and SEASTATES will help Nekton operate safely and efficiently in the face of varied, often extreme metocean conditions, enabling them to deliver on their research commitments to the benefit of sustainable ocean management.