Innovation That Matters

The underwater robots, called Gliders, register data from the sea bottom to the surface non stop. | Photo source OTO/Aleksandra Mazur

Ocean robots monitor the impact of the Nord Stream gas leak


One of the remote-controlled robots carries a methane-specific sensor

Spotted: Just two weeks before the Nord Stream pipeline leak in the Baltic Sea was detected, marine researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) completed a routine check of marine health. The checks covered water temperature, oxygen level, salinity, and more, and were a fortuitous benchmark for the new collaborative monitoring project tracking the health of the sea following the gas leak.

Scientists from the University of Gothenburg are working with the SLU team, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, and the Voice of the Ocean organisation to track the short- and long-term effects of the leak on marine life. Some of what the teams are examining includes the rate at which the gas rises into the atmosphere, how much of it dissolves in the water, and how quickly it is distributed. The researchers will also examine the pathways the gas takes as a result of ocean currents.

Using a combination of remote-controlled underwater robots, and an unmanned vessel launched from a research ship, the project team will run tests and monitor results for 15 weeks. The University of Gothenburg’s research vessel Skagerak is the base for the autonomous research boat Ran, and this expedition will be an important test of the vessel’s capabilities.

Marine health is crucial to maintaining health for all other aspects of nature, and projects around the world are beginning to grow in scale in order to create a more detailed base understanding of general marine life. Innovations spotted by Springwise include mapping previously unseen depths as well as developing a fleet of marine drones capable of withstanding the conditions of research in open water.  

Written By: Keely Khoury



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