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GO CIRCULAR, actor of the scientific program of The Ocean Race to better understand our oceans

06 | 02 | 2023
As GO CIRCULAR continues its race towards Cape Town, the crew released yesterday a drifting buoy into the southern seas, marking the launch of the ambitious scientific program carried by the organizer of the crewed round-the-world race with stopovers, The Ocean Race.

Launched in 2017, during the last edition of The Ocean Race, this program will collect data on the state of the oceans throughout the race. It will thus deepen scientific understanding of sea surface temperature, ocean currents and the Earth's climate, for the next 6 months. Véronique Garçon, oceanographer and director of research at CNRS, explains:

The more data we have, the more we are able to understand the ocean's ability to cope with climate change. This helps us predict what will happen to the climate in the future.

This year, the organizers of TOR have put this scientific program at the top of their agenda and are committing themselves with even more ambition by involving all the teams, including Holcim-PRB. Launched less than a month ago, the IMOCA boats participating in the round-the-world race have already been able to drop various drifting buoys in order to collect even more data in parts of the ocean that are rarely accessible for scientific research. These 20 kg instruments, which are provided by various international organizations, will measure atmospheric pressure, temperature and currents on the surface of the water. These buoys have enough autonomy to transmit this information continuously for two years. This is valuable data transmitted by satellite and will be shared with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Users from all over the world, such as forecasters, will be able to access them freely. 

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In addition to these drifting surface buoys, each crew is equipped with onboard scientific tools to provide other in situ observation elements. GO CIRCULAR will regularly take samples of sea water in order to detect the presence of microplastics and to identify their origin (for example, a bottle or a bag). 

A total of 15 types of measurements will be taken by the different boats of the fleet, such as: the strength of the currents, the quantity of microplastic, the levels of carbon dioxide, oxygen, salinity and temperature... and for the first time also the levels of oxygen and trace elements in the water (iron, zinc, copper and manganese).

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Supported by the UN as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development, this program aims to drive change. Stefan Raimund, The Ocean Race's scientific leader, explains:

The data collected during our previous races has been included in crucial reports on the state of the planet that have informed and influenced government decisions.

While this is not the first time that scientists and skippers have teamed up to collect data on a race (Vendée Arctique, Barcelona World Race...), it is the first time that so many measurements will be made over such a long period. Kevin and the whole crew are happy to be able to take part in these studies which allow us to deepen our knowledge of the oceans and which resonate with the commitment of the project. Holcim is indeed committed on a daily basis to the preservation of our planet and the reduction and reuse of waste. With the GO CIRCULAR project, the Holcim-PRB team wishes to take advantage of the race to raise awareness around its strong message and its three pillars: reduce, reuse, recycle.

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