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Ocean Drones Mining Carbon Data Funded by Google

A squadron of ocean Drones has been deployed from Newport, Rhode Island, to collect the largest-ever set of wintertime weather and carbon data in the Gulf Stream, thanks in part to a $1 million funding from Google.org. Three uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) from Sail Drones will sail across the North Atlantic’s fastest current for the next six months to collect important, in situ data that will aid scientists in improving weather forecasts and carbon accounting.

The expedition, directed by scientists from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the University of Rhode Island (URI), received a financing grant from Google.org, the company’s charitable arm, earlier this year. Since its first trip in the Arctic in 2015, his company has been working diligently to measure climate quality data from Earth’s most distant oceans, he said. The Gulf Stream has a substantial impact on both weather systems and the global carbon budget, yet traditional crewed ships find collecting data from the area extremely difficult.

Meanwhile, because they’re driven by the wind and the sun, sail Drones can collect data without endangering human lives and have no operational carbon footprint. One Drones will be stationed upstream, east of Cape Hatteras, NC, where the current is like a narrow river of water.

Another Drones will be stationed midstream, while a third will be stationed downstream, off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, where the current broadens, meanders, and breaks into eddies. To record as many ocean characteristics as possible, the three vehicles will sail back and forth across the current.

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