Marine research is closely linked with adventure, because there is still a lot to discover about the world’s oceans. The famous German adventurer Arved Fuchs is combining adventure and research in his Ocean Change 2021 expedition in a very special way.
On June 17, Fuchs, the 68-year-old adventurer, headed off from Kiel, Germany, with his sailing ship Dagmar Aaen, for the northern North Atlantic. During his three-month expedition, with which Fuchs wants to draw attention to climate change in particular, he will continuously carry out measurements for Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. The expedition, but also the observational data, can be followed live via the BELUGA online platform developed at Geomar.
The Dagmar Aaen does not look like a typical research vessel. The shark cutter, built in 1931 in Esbjerg, Denmark, is not really thought to be able to navigate the rough North Atlantic. But that is what it was built for, and it has been used for his expeditions for more than 30 years. As part of his Ocean Change 2021 expedition, Fuchs wants to draw attention to the impact of global warming on our ocean.
“The North Atlantic is one of the very critical regions with respect to global warming,” said professor Dr Katja Matthes, director of Geomar. “Here, further warming can quickly lead to changes in ocean currents, especially in the Gulf Stream, one of the tipping elements of the climate system,” Matthes added.
In order to detect warming signals and to understand the underlying processes to ultimately help better predictions for the future, more ocean observations are required and the Ocean Change 2021 is one contribution.
“At Geomar, we are focusing our expeditions in particular on the Labrador Sea between Canada and Greenland, where we have been conducting long-term observations since the mid 1990s,” explained Dr Johannes Karstensen, oceanographer at Geomar, who is coordinating the cooperation with Arved Fuchs within the framework of Ocean Change 2021.
“Fuchs and his team will carry out measurements along the entire route from Kiel via the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland to Newfoundland, which will then be available to us in real time,” Karstensen continues.
Geomar is particularly interested in temperature and salinity to characterize warming and freshening of surface water but also the gas exchange for oxygen and carbon dioxide. Most data is collected at the surface but at dedicated stops Fuchs’ crew will acquire a vertical profile to greater water depths. The instruments in use on the Dagmar Aaen are similar to those operated on racing yachts such as Boris Hermann’s Malizia.
“We are also supporting the expedition by using an extension of our communication platform BELUGA. This is a software product developed by Geomar, which combines observational data from different instruments into one stream, visualizes it and presents it in the context of the route of the expedition. This enables viewers to grasp the current and past conditions in and over the ocean during the Ocean Change 2021 expedition at a glance and to link them with other content such as information about life on board, natural phenomena or scientific topics,” explained Dr Karstensen.
“We wish Arved Fuchs all the best, much success and a healthy return and look forward to exciting voyage reports from en route and, of course, the data for our research,” said Matthes.