Operatinal Systems

A FerryBox is installed on-board several ferries. -image: fotolia / Pavoll Kmeto-

In-situ Measuring Systems

Current events and constant changes in coastal waters can only be differentiated and evaluated if continuous data on the condition of the coastal seas is available.

The Department of In-situ Measurement Systems develops economical and reliable observation methods that enable scientists to continuously measure water quality directly on-site (“in-situ”) in coastal regions. Measurement results are obtained directly at sea and not just after sample analysis in a laboratory.
Vessels such as ferries or cargo ships that travel regular shipping routes are utilised as a cost-free research platform. Measurement systems (FerryBoxes) that automatically analyse the water during journeys are installed on these vessels. In addition to standard measurement parameters such as temperature and salinity, other information can also be obtained, including pH values, turbidity, carbon dioxide, oxygen and nutrient content or plankton.

The FerryBox measurement results are used by colleagues at the HZG as well as by the international community to study the development of algae blooms and to better assess ocean acidification. Scientists also study to what extent the coastal seas serve as a buffer or a source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The data enables a better understanding of the complex processes in the ocean and improves ocean and climate models by establishing a realistic baseline of data sets.