JRC scientists complete Baltic Sea research trip
Three JRC scientists from its Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) have returned safely to dry land following their participation in the August 2008 oceanographic research campaign in the Baltic Sea aboard the Finnish research vessel ARANDA.
The campaign was intended to gather unique optical measurements of the northern Baltic Sea, in particular of the Gulf and Bay of Bothnia. This should serve the development and assessment of better monitoring methods for the Baltic Sea's marine environment through satellite remote-sensing.
This year's voyage featured a large amount of measurement stops being made in unique conditions marked by high levels of river discharges. The Gulf of Bothnia was thus acting as a drainage basin for the surrounding northern Baltic region.
Measurements taken should provide a formidable source of information that can help to develop and "calibrate" tailored satellite products to observe the region in question. These can in turn provide an accurate "bird's eye" view of the Baltic environment and allow the effective monitoring of its evolution over time. Information thus gathered also represents a step towards the effective monitoring and forecasting of the intense blooming of cyanobacteria algae occurring in the area and that affect both human activities in the area and its ecosystem. JRC-IES is thus complimenting ongoing discussions on the implementation of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Baltic Sea Action Plan.
The scientists aboard the Aranda faced harsh sea conditions, as can be seen in the photo taken from the ship's deck. The rough seas, coupled with working days frequently of twelve hours and more, meant the scientific campaign was no holiday cruise.
Participation in the campaign is a demonstration of the fruitful, ongoing collaboration with the Finnish Institute for Marine Research, with whom the JRC has been participating in oceanographic campaigns since 1996 within the framework of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, governed by the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM). JRC-IES also has experiments ongoing on a fixed platform off the Finnish coast.