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Memorial University connection to Atlantic Ocean climate change research voyage

A team of scientists from six countries will spend the next month crossing the Atlantic Ocean from St. John's to Ireland aboard the Celtic Explorer.
A team of scientists from six countries will spend the next month crossing the Atlantic Ocean from St. John's to Ireland aboard the Celtic Explorer.

A team of scientists from six countries is leaving St. John’s today to begin a month-long trans-Atlantic voyage to study the impact of climate change on the ocean.

The research that will be conducted on-board the Celtic Explorer is a Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) survey.

It is being led by Ireland’s Marine Institute of Galway, a partner in the newly formed Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI), co-founded by Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Prince Edward Island and Dalhousie University.

“The Northwest Atlantic is one of the world’s largest sinks of carbon dioxide and, despite progress in our understanding, there’s still a huge lack of data as it relates to climate change’s impact on the ocean and what that means for the economy and society,” Brad de Young, a professor of physics and physical oceanography with Memorial University and a researcher with OFI, said in a news release.

OFI was created last fall through $220 million in funding from the federal government and various private and public sector organizations, and supports multi-year research projects at the universities.

The research voyage represents the first step in the OFI partnership to explore sustainable ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic and builds on a long-term relationship between Memorial University’s Marine Institute and the Marine Institute of Galway.

The GO-SHIP voyage is a collaborative effort with representatives from Ireland, the U.K., Germany, Denmark, the U.S. and Canada sharing technology, expertise and the results from the on-board measurements.

In addition to studying climate change impacts, the scientists will examine the movement of nutrients and oxygen by ocean currents and collect data to assess acidification rates on the ocean’s ecosystem.

The research vessel will return to Galway on May 23.

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