National Oceanography Centre: Solving business problems with environmental data

A short film highlighting environmental data sets available from the National Oceanography Service that could be used to develop new solutions to business problems.

“We’re using ocean models to couple to atmospheric models of the climate system to investigate how the North Atlantic might change in the future and how this will influence European climate.” – Professor Adrian New, National Oceanography Service

The Technology Strategy Board and NERC have invested £4m during 2014 to run feasibility studies which use environmental data to address a specific business issue in transport, food, agriculture, energy generation and supply, built environment and future cities or financial services.

Environmental data can be used to monitor ocean life.

Environmental data can be used to monitor ocean life.

Transcript

Professor Adrian New, Head, Marine Systems Modelling Group, National Oceanography Centre

The National Oceanography Centre is one of the world’s leading oceanography research centres and comprises two sites at Southampton and Liverpool.

At the National Oceanography Centre there are three primary sources of data. There’s observational data that’s collected when we go to sea or by remote autonomous vehicles. The second is computer generated simulations, and the third are satellite data sets that come from a range of satellites and space agencies.

We need to collect observational data sets over periods of decades to form reliable estimates of how the ocean is changing on the climate time scales.

Professor Adrian New, Head of Marine Systems Modelling Group, National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton.

Professor Adrian New, Head of Marine Systems Modelling Group, National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton.

Two good examples are, firstly, the Rapid Array. It’s a monitoring array at 26 degrees north right across the Atlantic and this is monitoring the strength of the circulation in the Atlantic. The rapid array has been collecting data since 2002 and it’s just been extended. That will give a 15-20 year coverage which is what you need to be able to have a good statistical estimate of whether the Atlantic circulation is really changing or not. This is a completely unique data set in the world.

The second example is the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level. The Permananent Service for Mean Sea Level has been collecting data from a network of tide gauges for several decades.

Autosub remote autonomous vehicle used to collect ocean environmental data for the National Oceanography Centre.

Autosub remote autonomous vehicle used to collect ocean environmental data for the National Oceanography Centre.

The observational data is collected on various research cruises that tend to be along section across a basin, from say Europe to North America, but just a single section. Or they are at particular locations where moorings might be for several years or decades so they are very sparse or scattered in their coverage.

Moored buoys monitor conditions at fixed locations supplying data to create models of ocean conditions.

Moored buoys monitor conditions at fixed locations supplying data to create models of ocean conditions.

The model data sets give complete global coverage down to 10 kilometre resolution. Jointly with the Met Office we’re using the ocean models to couple to atmospheric models of the climate system and we have a joint programme of research to investigate, for instance, how the North Atlantic might change in the future and how this will influence European climate.

Environmental data is combined to produce a global model of the ocean.

Environmental data is combined to produce a global model of the ocean.

In the future there are other potential applications of the model output.  For instance, to look at oil spills: if there is an oil spill somewhere, where is the oil going to go? You could also use it to see where albatrosses in the South Atlantic tend to gather, where the currents are strongest and where the food sources might be most prevalent.

NERC owns the British Atmospheric Data Centre, British Oceanography Data Centre, and the Earth Observation Data Centre. All data is freely available from the NERC data centres.

Marine life is very sensitive to changes in the environment.

Marine life is very sensitive to changes in the environment.

About the film

Filmed on location at National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Mark Whatmore
Editor: Liam Angell
Cast: Adrian New

Client: ESKTN
Production company: insitu

Further reading

Shipping and other sea users rely on accurate environmental data to plan future activity.

Shipping and other sea users rely on accurate environmental data to plan future activity.

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