As Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Equinox completed its recent scheduled dry dock in Cadiz, Spain, it joined Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas in a program that tracks ocean circulation dynamics and measures atmospheric and oceanographic conditions, on repeated journeys.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s ships are known for providing vacationers with innovative experiences, extraordinary service, and award-winning cuisine as they cross the world’s oceans. Not as well known — but critically important worldwide — is the scientific research conducted on several of these ships by the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. The scientists capture and analyze oceanographic and atmospheric data on the vessels sailing worldwide.
The scientists record ocean temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll concentration, as well as properties of the ocean’s surface, such as reflectance and absorbance. In addition, they measure meteorological properties, such as wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure and humidity.
These data help scientists monitor, understand, and forecast climate change and its effects on marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs. Coral reefs protect coastlines from storms and help sustain the livelihoods of local people, especially in developing countries, where coral reefs contribute about one-quarter of the annual total fish catch, providing food to about one billion people in Asia alone.
“These data are proving to be of invaluable assistance in calibrating and verifying the American and European satellites monitoring climate change throughout the ocean,” said Dr. Peter B. Ortner, director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “Smaller packets of data are transmitted on an hourly basis through RCCL’s regular satellite link and large data sets will be sent back via Internet connection when the ship is in port,” he added.
“Royal Caribbean is extremely proud of the collaboration with the OceanScope program to foster greater understanding of the global climate system and the oceans on which our ships sail,” said Rich Pruitt, vice president, Safety and Environmental Stewardship, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL). “Our business depends on ocean health, and part of protecting ocean health is understanding the atmosphere and its effects.”
Funded in part by RCCL’s Ocean Fund, the University of Miami’s OceanScope equipment on Explorer of the Seas has tracked ocean circulation dynamics since 2000, in the North Atlantic basin that the ship sails through while on Bermuda and Caribbean routes from the U.S. Northeast. The Allure of the Seas lab tracks these conditions through the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and has done so since 2012. The installation of an OceanScope lab on Celebrity Equinox will provide insight into the ocean dynamics in the Mediterranean Sea, across the North Atlantic and along the Iberian Peninsula.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture. Together, these six brands operate a combined total of 41 ships with an additional six under construction contracts.
They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents. For more information on the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, visit www.rsmas.miami.edu.