Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Satellites ensure safe passage through treacherous waters in Volvo Ocean Race


The Volvo Ocean Race yachts have safely rounded Cape Horn on the fourth leg of their round-the-world adventure thanks to the help of radar satellites steering them away from dangerous icebergs.

While all the legs of the race have their unique dangers, Volvo Ocean Race Meteorologist Chris Bedford said leg four is arguably the most dangerous. "The boats have to face 50-knot storms, massive seas and possible ice, and if something happens on the leg, help is many hours and, more likely, days away."

C-CORE, a Canadian company providing Earth observation based geo-information services, supplied ‘pre-leg’ reconnaissance of the areas in the Southern Ocean notorious for harbouring icebergs by using data acquired by the ESA’s Envisat and the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) RADARSAT-1 satellites.

Within a few hours of the satellites collecting the data with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), C-CORE received and processed it using a specialised Iceberg Detection Software. The results, which included iceberg targets, their size and shape and longitude and latitude information, were then forwarded to Bedford, who provided it to the crews.

"The C-CORE service has been a huge help in allowing us to set the course in such a manner as to keep the team away from potential ice," Bedford said. "In addition, the crews were able to leave the dock with a reasonable idea of where the ice was most likely to be."

Knowing where the ice was most likely to be was helpful to sailors who still had to be vigilant and weary of ‘growlers’ – smaller bits of ice that break away from main icebergs and do not show up on radar. Growlers can be the size of a small car and are extremely dangerous and difficult to spot by eye, especially when travelling at full speed during rough seas at night.

"I’m relieved that I got through another amazing Southern Ocean trip in one piece, but also somewhat sad. Every time I get to this part of a round-the-world trip I look over my shoulder at Cape Horn and just wonder: will I be coming down here again? If not, thank you Southern Ocean for letting me cross you safely and for those unforgettable experiences," Ericsson skipper Neal McDonald wrote to race headquarters via email.

The Volvo Ocean Race, which takes place every four years, is a 31 250 nautical mile round-the-world race comprised of nine legs. The fourth leg covers 6 700 miles from Wellington, New Zealand, to Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, via Cape Horn.

C-CORE is funded under The Polar View initiative and is part of Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), a joint initiative by the ESA and the European Commission to establish an independent global monitoring capacity in support of European policy goals.

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic
24.10.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>