The ocean absorbs about 90% of the planet’s heat and produces more than half the oxygen we breathe. It acts as the Earth’s air conditioning system, and feeds hundreds of millions of people. A critical factor in understanding how the ocean stores and releases energy is its temperature. However, scientists still need more data in order to build a comprehensive picture of how ocean temperatures vary at depth, especially in coastal ecosystems, which are home to the vast majority of marine biodiversity.
In 1973 Jacques-Yves Cousteau created the Cousteau Society, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the protection of ocean life. His life’s work fosters a deep respect for marine life and the willingness to help protect it. This need to protect endangered species is just as relevant today as ever, and is something that IWC has been tirelessly supporting since 2003. The Swiss luxury manufacturer paid tribute to the ocean-going pioneer with four limited special editions, while a fifth, the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Jacques-Yves Cousteau, celebrated the 100th birthday of the famous researcher and filmmaker in 2010. IWC is now extending its partnership with the Cousteau Society by supporting Cousteau Divers.
“Cousteau Divers aims to reveal coastal temperatures of the ocean by supplementing satellite surface measurements with those taken by thousands of recreational divers around the world. By centrally storing this data in a cloud and making it accessible to scientists and enthusiasts, we hope we can contribute to a better understanding of how the ocean’s temperature not only influences the climate, weather patterns, or storm formations, but also fish and bird populations,” explains Pierre-Yves Cousteau, marine conservationist and founder of Cousteau Divers.
“At IWC Schaffhausen, our Sustainability Committee ensures that awareness of our social and environmental impact is reflected throughout the company in the way we work. We’re proud to support partner organisations that share our values, and we’re very excited about this innovative initiative from Cousteau Divers and the Cousteau Society.” – Franziska Gsell, CMO IWC Schaffhausen
COMBINING DATA FROM PRECISION SENSORS AND A FLEET OF DIVE COMPUTERS
To measure the ocean’s temperature reliably and with a high degree of precision, Cousteau Divers’ team of volunteer engineers, led by Brad Bazemore and Brendan Walters, have developed a prototype for a portable precision temperature sensor. The device will track GPS and underwater navigational information, and measure the temperature with high levels of accuracy. As a systems platform, the device will later be able to include additional oceanographic measurements such as conductivity, optical density and pH. About 50 of these sensors will be deployed to dive centres globally, at locations selected with the help of scientific partners. The entire project is open source, meaning that both the hardware and the software designs are available online, in order to foster innovation and creativity from the global communities of both divers and engineers.
This pilot deployment will last for 18 months to gather user feedback and verify the validity of the data collected before a second, larger deployment takes place. At this point, the online platform will accept a variety of oceanographic data sources.
Thanks to this collaborative approach, Cousteau Divers has the potential to reveal the temperature of the ocean with scientific accuracy, in near real-time, and using cost-effective citizen science.
ABOUT THE COUSTEAU SOCIETY
The Cousteau Society was founded by Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1973 to protect life on Earth by all means possible. Today, the Cousteau Society also manages the intellectual property of the late Captain Cousteau.
ABOUT COUSTEAU DIVERS
Cousteau Divers was founded by Pierre-Yves Cousteau in 2009 to empower recreational divers worldwide to help study and protect marine life. Cousteau Divers focusses on citizen science, outreach and conservation, working closely with the Cousteau Society.
Below, the images are available in 4k resolution.