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Development of FOCA - a ship-of-opportunity environmental monitoring network for the Chilean channels region

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Acronym: FOCA
Period: April 2010 till March 2011
Status: Completed

Institutes (2)  Top | Publication 

Abstract:
The "Ferries Observando los Canales Australes" (FOCA) project aims to develop a robust, accurate and sustainable monitoring network for the Chilean channels region, the extensive complex of fjords that stretches along the Chilean coast between approximately 40°S and 55°S. Taking advantage of the comprehensive network of ferries that operate within the region as platforms of opportunity, the project will monitor a range of important environmental parameters throughout the region. Parameters to be measured along the ferry routes include temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, chlorophyll-a and nitrate concentration of surface waters, plus wind speed and direction, downwelling solar radiation, pycnocline depth and ocean velocity profiles. A subset of this data will be transmitted automatically to a land-station in near real-time to allow the generation of best-estimate maps of present conditions that will be freely available over the internet, as well as allowing the transmission of alerts directly to interested parties. The entire dataset will be quality-controlled and made available to the scientific community through regular releases. As the channels region has a desperate lack of scientific information that severly limits the possibility for long-term planning, the project will make an important contribution to its management by 1) making observations of near real-time conditions available to managers, thus allowing monitoring of, and rapid responses to, environmental hazards, and 2) facilitating basic and applied investigation into the essential processes at play in the region through the distribution of a high-quality multi-variate database of the observed state of the system. The great potential of the data and its applications, combined with the relatively low costs involved in its acquisition, it implies that FOCA has a high probability of being sustainable over time. As a result FOCA will provide the ideal solution for building the long-term data-set of environmental conditions that is lacking for the channels region.

Publication  Top | Institutes 
  • Aiken, C.M.; Petersen, W.; Schroeder, F.; Gehrung, M.; Ramírez von Holle, P.A. (2011). Ship-of-opportunity monitoring of the Chilean fjords using the pocket FerryBox. J. Atmos. Oceanic. Technol. 28: 1338-1350. dx.doi.org/10.1175/JTECH-D-10-05022.1, more

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