Research and a cruise ship. What’s the connection? Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht are plumbing the depths of this relationship in cooperation with TUI Cruises by installing an array of scientific measurement instruments on MeinSchiff 3. Interview with Project Leads Dr. Wilhelm Peterson, HZG Department Head of In Situ Measurement Systems, and Lucienne Damm, Environmental Manager at TUI Cruises.
The interview

Institute of Coastal Research
Coasts, Climate and Society

Measurement Network

Dense Measurement Network

Research motor boat EDDY

Research motor boat EDDY. Photo: HZG/Christian Schmid

The Institute of Coastal Research is exploring the complex interaction between sea, land, atmosphere and humans.

Measurement Technology

Hzg Research vessel LUDWIG PRANDL.

Research vessel LUDWIG PRANDL. Photo: HZG/Christian Schmid

An extensive observation network provides the basis for the research work. Together with nine partners, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG) operates one of the world’s densiest coastal measurement networks, known as COSYNA (Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas).

Shore-based radar systems record the surface currents in the German Bight. Research ships heave water samples on deck and position landers on the seabed. These frames have many different instruments attached to them, which take water samples, for example, and record current conditions. HZG technology can also be found on board ferries and cargo ships: ‘„FerryBoxes“’ take in seawater during the journey and measure important parameters such as temperature, salt content and algae concentration continuously over a longer period of time. The researchers explore the coastal waters of the North Sea and Baltic Sea aboard the institute’s own research ship, the ’Ludwig Prandtl’. The vessel’s shallow draught of just 1.70 metres is ideal for this purpose.

Symbol image buoy

Photo: HZG/Christian Schmid

Observation data – obtained by the COSYNA coastal measurement system, for example – helps to improve the model outcomes and can be included in the calculations with the aid of mathematical methods. There is a broad cooperation arrangement behind the COSYNA coastal measurement network coordinated by the HZG. Those involved include the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), the Alfred Wegener Institute at the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and several regional authorities and institutes at the universities of Bremen, Oldenburg and Kiel. All in all, more than 100 scientists collaborate to run the COSYNA network.

Ferrybox - when ferries become research vessels

Mobile and independent: With FerryBoxes on ships scientists collect essential data regarding the state of oceans.