Charting the path through choppy waters

The Belgian coast and the southern part of the North Sea is a dynamic tidal marine environment - close to highly-urbanised land areas, it receives significant water loads from a local estuary of the Scheldt river

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Simon Stevin at sea. Photo by Konsta Punkka

The 36-metre long Simon Stevin research vessel measures greenhouse gases in the Belgian part of the North Sea. Simon Stevin operates from the harbour of Ostend in Belgium and sails in the North Sea and the Eastern part of the English Channel.

Simon Stevin: Photo by Konsta Punkka

Every month, the vessel stops at the VLIZ Thornton Buoy (deployed at the Thorntonbank Wind Farm) to collect water samples, in order to obtain information about greenhouse gases concentrations and the biogeochemical composition of the ocean. These trips ensure the accuracy of the measurements from both the buoy and the vessel.

Marine scientist at work. Photo by Konsta Punkka

ICOS Simon Stevin is part of the ICOS Ocean Network, which monitors greenhouse gases in the Atlantic and the Nordic, Baltic and Mediterranean Seas. The data collected at the ocean stations are processed and quality controlled by the Ocean Thematic Centre, which coordinates the network of ocean stations.