SensOcean is a program of participatory science which aims at equipping the sailboats of the voluntary boaters with physical measurement sensors. By this way, anyone navigating on the open sea will be able to perform temperature and salinity measurements on the surface. These measurements will allow to better understand the evolution of the ocean, marine currents, and their impact on the climate change.
The Ocean is about 70.8 % of the earth surface and regulates over 80 % of the earth’s climate by exchanges of huge amounts of heat with the atmosphere. These exchanges are mainly controled by the ocean currents which take part in the redistribution of the heat energy around the world. This ocean circulation is controled bu the surface winds, the rotation of the Earth, as well as some ocean parameters as the temperature and the salinity. Thus the study of physical parameters of the ocean is a key to understand the evolution of the climate and the impacts of climate change on the oceans.
Nowadays, most of the measurements are realised by oceanographic ships and stationary measurements platforms (buoys, tripods, moorings) usually expensive, limited in number and with some difficulties to measure the physical parameters on the surface. Since few years, some commercial vessels are equipped with thermo-salinometer to input into the data base of the scientists. The sailboats can be considered as a promising tool as they can provide shallower measurements, in different areas of those explored by the commercial or research ships, and represent a large fleet. Then, the integration of permanent measuring device of temperature and salinity in real time on sailboats could ensure the improvement of the spatial and temporal resolution of the current measurements.
In order to collect the data, a measuring equipment is provided to the volunteers. It includes :
After a training program on the sensors calibration, the measurement protocol and on the maintenance of the kit (during training week-ends or with online documentation), volunteers will be able to fix the kit on their sailboat. Then, the kit will collect sea surface temperature and salinity data continously along the boat trajectory. Next, these data will be registered, sorted on a platform (like the site of the association for exemple) to check the quality of data, and sent directly on the Coriolis data base. Then, data are available with free access for everybody (scientists and citizens). A platform supporting the program will allow for all participants to retrieve their trajectories and the shared measurements, and to have access to analyse tools for the data base.
The measurement kit, designed to be available and reproduced by everybody, is under the licence OpenSource and jointly developed with the partners of the project (Astrolabe Expéditions, LOCEAN, La Paillasse, Explore Jourdain, l’’Electrolab, la Maison du libre, l’Ifremer). Thus, the kit can be distributed through the network of the partners, or bought on the site. Also, as the construction plans of the measurement device is avalible online, it can be replicated in Fablab or by other organisms which have the technical equipment.