In July 2020 scientists onboard the RV Sarmiento de Gamboa embarked on a research cruise, starting from Galicia, Spain and travelling 800 km west into the North Atlantic.
The cruise was part of the project ‘Innovation in the Framework of the Atlantic Deep Ocean (iFADO)', in which Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) is a partner.
NEODAAS provided a daily overview of the conditions surrounding the vessel, with maps of chlorophyll concentration and sea surface temperature (SST) derived from satellite data.
The cruise was collecting samples for high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), providing measurements of chlorophyll concentration. These can then be used to validate and improve satellite products, enabling NEODAAS to provide more accurate measurements to future cruises.
Paulo Oliveira, a scientist onboard the cruise and researcher at the Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere, commented:
"These maps helped the scientists to interpret the real time continuous surface measurements and decide for any adjustment on the sampling plan. The cruise took place under strong northerly winds, driving coastal upwelling in the sampling area. These conditions led to high chlorophyll concentrations over the shelf region, clearly shown on the produced maps."
Prof. Vanda Brotas, from the MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre at the University of Lisbon and iFADO participant, explained:
"The outcome of this work will certainly be very interesting, as the cruise occurred during the appropriate weather conditions to obtain satellite images, and the transect was from nearshore (where upwelling conditions occur) to offshore, covering a wide range of phytoplankton communities."
Dan Clewley, Manager of NEODAAS commented:
"As Prof. Brotas noted, the good weather for the cruise specifically the lack of cloud cover, allowed us to supply high quality images. Satellites provide a unique perspective and being able to provide this information to scientists during research cruises is a key service for NEODAAS. In the frame of this collaboration, scientists at PML will be utilising measurements collected during the cruise to validate and improve methods for retrieving chlorophyll from satellite data. These improved products will ultimately be made available through NEODAAS allowing us to supply better data to help guide future cruises."