Ocean Warrior was founded by internationally-renowned explorer Jim McNeill, who has been running scientific expeditions to the Arctic for over two decades and acted as a consultant for natural history programmes such as the BBC’s Frozen Planet.
Designed to collect critical scientific measurements from remote areas of the Arctic Ocean in order to build up an improved picture of the changes taking place due to climate change and other factors, Ocean Warrior will also help to ‘ground-truth’ data collected via satellites.
The project will involve a unique voyage to build a greater scientific understanding of the marine environment in the Arctic and the impacts of global climate change.
It will see a team of scientists and ‘citizen scientists’ setting sail from Svalbard at the start of September aboard Europe’s largest wooden schooner.
For the first ten-day leg of the expedition, the 18-strong team, including crew members, are tasked with building an understanding of the vessel and its capabilities, so the potential for scientific data capture can be maximised.
The expedition aims to install and test scientific and technological equipment such as weather stations, FerryBox, CTD, Bathymetry, Communications, and Safety. Additionally, an online dashboard will be created to convey the findings and capture stories through digital and broadcast content capture.
Travelling to seldom-visited areas of the Ocean each year between June and October, Ocean Warrior intends to cover 10,000 nautical miles each year, over the next ten years, collecting data on a range of key ‘indicators’ – in areas such as water quality, plankton, eDNA, salinity and ocean acidity.
This will help scientists gain a clearer understanding of the pace of changes taking place, their impacts on marine ecosystems, and what the future may hold for the Arctic region and the wildlife, populations and economies which depend upon it.
The project is being supported by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), Valeport, Mole Energy, Dartmoor Brewery and Henri Lloyd.
Guy Frankland, Head of Marketing at Valeport, said, “We understand the pressing importance of expeditions such as this, and are proud to be supporting Ocean Warrior with the provision of our leading-edge marine sensing and monitoring equipment. On board the project team will be using our SWiFT CTDplus profiler to gather important data. High quality, precision data is fundamental to the expedition’s success, enabling the team to measure and benchmark environmental change as the project develops.”
Jim McNeill said, “Our quest is to help scientists put a better, more immediate ‘finger on the pulse of our planet’ by exploring the extreme environments on Earth in the greatest detail. These are the indicators of change and by measuring, benchmarking and monitoring over a 10-year period we should be able to detect changes, both good and bad. Through the citizen science aspect of the explorations we’re also enabling people from different walks of life to come and be part of something that will generate highly important scientific research.”