Research ship returns with vital climate change data

, one of the few ocean-going research ships in the UK. Photograph: Lucie Novoveska/SAMS

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A team of oceanographers from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) overcame the challenge of Covid-19 restrictions to complete a month-long research cruise to the north Atlantic, collecting crucial climate change data.

Restrictions meant the science team was greatly reduced in number and 14 – half the usual complement – boarded the RRS Discovery. The six SAMS scientists quarantined at home before being bussed from Oban to Southampton to join the ship at the beginning of October for what was only the second UK research cruise since lockdown in March.

Originally scheduled for August, the research team faced challenging sea conditions but managed to retrieve and redeploy a series of scientific moorings that have been collecting crucial information on how changes in the ocean are affecting our climate.

On their return to UK shores, the team, led by Professor Stuart Cunningham, had the bonus of being dropped off on SAMS’ doorstep in Ardmucknish Bay last Saturday, saving a week’s travel via Southampton. It also gave onlookers in the Oban and Lorn area a rare sighting of the 100-metre RRS Discovery, one of the few ocean-going research ships in the UK.

See next week’s Oban Times for more on the cruise and the team’s findings.