EMODnet joins forces with Scuba Schools International in largest citizen science data partnership
The GOF-EC DG MARE – EMODnet - SSI project is an official activity of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (UN Ocean Decade; 2021-2030) and is an important milestone to fill gaps in ocean data and to realise the objective of inclusive marine knowledge collected by – and used by - all.
Given the ongoing and escalating warming and acidification of the oceans thanks to human impacts including climate change, the project focuses on collecting data on temperature and pH values, georeferenced with position and depth. The campaign's primary purpose is to create a movement that engages citizens and that benefits both science and society. Through media activities and ocean lectures, the campaign aims to motivate public figures to actively participate and make the UN Ocean Decade and the ocean itself visible and tangible.
Data from the diving industry and more specifically Scuba Schools International (SSI) is collected and anonymized centrally from thousands of dive computers. These data (mostly ocean physics) are then forwarded to EMODnet. The data undergoes a harmonisation and standardisation process and is ingested into EMODnet, being integrated with other data from diverse sources and being made accessible for all users as pan-European standardized data layers. The volume of data is estimated to be in the thousands of temperatures and other ocean physics profiles, with a focus on coastal shallow-water (upper 20m), which will add significant value to EMDOnet’s existing offer which there is an increasing and diversifying demand including from the European and international research community, policy makers, the private sector etc.
One of the main EMODnet actors of this initiative is ocean scientist Patrick Gorringe, based in Sweden who is contracted by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), and is also a key EMODnet Physics expert, on a mission to get citizens and wider society involved in ocean observation and to make marine data and knowledge more accessible to all. In addition to working with Scuba Schools International (SSI) and the German Sailing Association, EMODnet also collaborates with Xylem Watermark and ESRAG Rotary to jointly realise this initiative.
This initiative has many future plans. In 2024 and going forward the research and media vessel ALDEBARAN will operate several highly qualified probes during expeditions. Local citizens will actively participate in regional measurement campaigns, also contributing their results to the EMODnet database. This initiative aims to increase public awareness in terms of Citizen Science, Ocean Observation, Marine Data and Knowledge, and the UN Ocean Decade.