Evidence has shown that the Caribbean will be one of the most adversely affected areas as the world experiences significant changes in its climate.
And today, Barbados became directly involved in a major climate study when two unmanned marine research vessels were launched from the Barbados Coast Guard headquarters this morning.
The two vessels were deployed as part of the EUREC4A study, an international initiative in support of the World Climate Research Programme’s Grand Science Challenge on Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity.
Marvin Forde of the Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) said, “The study is aimed at advancing the understanding of the interplay between clouds, convection and circulation and their role in climate change. Apart from the two drones we launched today, it will also use three specially equipped aircraft and research ships.”
Forde said the last such study which involved Barbados occurred some 50 years ago, and according to him, “The information we gathered from that is still being used today, so we are hoping that what we get out of this study will serve us for an even longer period. Data will be available in real time through EUREC4A.”
The two unmanned vessels launched from Barbados this morning are the Saildrone from the United States and the UK-based University of East Anglia’s Auto Naut. Director of Deployment Operations at Saildrone in California, Robbie Deane, said, “We are a company providing data for this operation. We are monitoring ocean currents, and we provide this data through our standard meteorological and oceanographic package, which the researchers can view on our live portal on the World Wide Web.”
Deane said the company started in 2012 and the drone being used in the current study was a fifth generation model. “The vessels are wind-powered, with solar panels used to operate the sensor package. They are monitored around the clock from our mission control centre in Alameda, California and we have satellite communication with them at all times.” He added that Saildrone had built over 100 vessels thus far and they were in operation all over the world.
Meanwhile, the team from the University of East Anglia built their vessel, the Auto Naut, over the last six months. Professor Karen Howard stated, “We will be using it to measure the temperature and salinity of the ocean, as well as surface winds and other matters pertaining to the ocean as part of this project.”
EUREC4A operations will focus on an area over the ocean east of Barbados for a six-week period between January 12 and February 23 this year, with aircraft operations taking place between January 18 and February 16. As part of the study, Saildrone recently returned from the coast of Brazil and will be based on the south coast of Barbados for the next few days. (DH)