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Data & Dissemination

Overview on the EU-Project "FerryBox" 2002 -2005

Cordinated by GKSS Research Centre, Geesthacht

Fifth Framework Programme of the European Commission 1998-2002
Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development (EESD) Programme Contract number : EVK2-2002-00144

The EU Science Framework 5 funded the highly successful project “FerryBox” from 2002 to 2005.The project enabled the cooperation of 11 organisations and established the coordinated use of commercial ferry ships for the collection of scientific data. This has been an important step towards achieving the cost-effective extension of the European marine observational and reporting network envisioned in the EuroGOOS concept.
The 11 partners operated on 9 shipping routes around Europe, from the eastern Mediterranean to the Baltic. Four core parameters were measured on all the routes, alongside other route-specific measurements. Common data quality control and archiving procedures were adopted, and the data from the project period are available from BODC.

Technologically the project was successful in:

  • Establishing the operational use of FerryBox systems
  • Validating the systems with respect to operability, reliability, and long-term stability
  • Evaluating commercially available versions of the four core sensors for temperature, salinity, turbidity, and chlorophyll-a fluorescence
  • Proving the scientific value of enhanced FerryBox systems for observations of currents and sediment transport (ADCP), pH, oxygen, nutrients and algal species.

Quality control of the data was a key issue. The different sensors were assessed in such a way that reliable comparisons between the data sets are possible.

Scientific value

The scientific value of the detailed near-continuous observations possible with FerryBox systems was proved in studies which:

  • Improved knowledge of the transport of water, particularly in the North Sea and into the English Channel.
  • Provided a coordinated view of eutrophication and plankton productivity across national boundaries
  • Used the advanced technology to determine the transport of sediments over long and short spatial and temporal scales
  • Validated the benefits of regular FerryBox measurements, improving the numerical model through data assimilation and calibration.
  • Demonstrated the mutual benefit of linking remote sensing (satellite) observations with more direct FerryBox measurements.