One of the most important aspects of studies of processes occurring in the ocean is the assessment and forecast of global climate change based on the results of long-term observations in the monitoring of the marine environment. The main problem with the implementation of predictive assessments of the state of the marine environment is the acquisition and analysis of field data.

Autonomous stations of vertical sounding can play a positive role in organizing the monitoring of the sea, both in terms of area and depth. A group of such stations, equipped with the necessary measuring sensors, capable of operating in the autonomous mode for many months, can give voluminous information about the state of the investigated area of the marine area.

An example of such stations is the automatic cycling station “Ecozond” developed by SKB FEB RAS. Structurally, it is a sealed container with sensors for registration of various hydrophysical fields installed on it, capable of moving in a layer of sea water according to a given program, ensuring continuous registration of vertical distributions (profiles) of parameters of the environment and biota, which makes it possible to accurately estimate both the differential and integral characteristics These distributions. Along with this, the “Ecozonde” can stop – “hang” at the right time to make measurements on the given horizons.

Transmission of measurement results is carried out via a VHF modem or satellite radio modem in the absence of direct visibility between the station setting point and the control station. The station sends the forms to the FTP server, where they can be taken by the user. This can be either a user server or a Globalstar server. Through the server are transferred to the station and files with a new job. When preparing the station to work in this case, the Wi-Fi transceiver is used. With their help, a channel is set up to program the station and receive data during testing and control lines, when the shipyard or the onshore control station is within a radius of 100 meters from the station.

The station “Ecozond” consists of a sealed cylindrical body (1) with electronic equipment inside, a winch with a cable (2) attached to the station from below, measuring sensors (3) located on the top and bottom covers of the housing and radio antennas (4). The upper end of the cable is wound on the winch, and the lower end is attached to the anchor located on the bottom.

Autonomous depth-coding hydrophysical station “Ecozond” with the transfer of information from the sea surface by VHF radio channel

Position1 – Sound speed sensor

Position2 – temperature sensor

Position3 – Conductivity sensor

Position5 – Flow sensor

Position6 – stabilizer

The station “Ecosonde” with sensors of pressure, temperature, electrical conductivity, sound velocity measurement, flow

The composition of the sensors of the station “Ecozond” is determined by the tasks it solves.

For the convenience of the operation, the station “Ecozond” has introduced structural elements that allow switching on and off the power of the station, as well as charging the batteries without depressurizing the case.

Station during a communication session

The number and type of sensors installed on the cycling station of the hydro-physical fields “Ecozond” is determined by the tasks to be solved and the parameters to be registered.

The main technical characteristics of the cycling station “Ecozond”

Characteristic Value Notes
Working depth range 5 – 500 м

With a depth of more than 200 m (up to 400-500 m) additional equipment is provided with a moored platform with a hydroacoustic ballast breaker

Maximum depth of measurement 200 м
Horizons on which measurements are made Programmed with an error of 0.1% of the maximum value of the working depth

The measurement horizons and the periodicity of measurements can be set from a remote computer in the course of autonomous work on a radio channel

Basic set of sensors, measurement error:

  • Pressures;
  • Temperatures;
  • Conductivity (salinity);
  • Gamma radiation;
  • Flow velocity;
  • 0.1%
  • 0.1 С°
  • 3%
  • 2%
  • 0.1%

The station is equipped with a 3-position position sensor

Total number of sensors with digital RS-232 or analog output 6

Number of sensors can be specified

Satellite connection:

  • Globalstar;
  • «Gonets»;
The range is unlimited
Transmission of information from the sea surface by radio: VHF-modem The communication range in the zone of direct radio visibility (20-40 km)

Information is transmitted to the receiving terminal and then through the user server to any remote terminal via an available communication channel.

The permissible number of MTAs per one data collection center:

  • By VHF channel
  • By satellite channel
  • Up to 100
  • Depends on the selected resource

When the APS is installed in the zone of direct radio visibility, the data transmission can be carried out in sequence from station to station, and then to the information collection center

Transmission of information from the sea surface by radio: VHF-modem The communication range in the zone of direct radio visibility (20-40 km)

Information is transmitted to the receiving terminal and then through the user server to any remote terminal via an available communication channel.

Transmission of information from the sea surface by radio: VHF-modem The communication range in the zone of direct radio visibility (20-40 km)

Information is transmitted to the receiving terminal and then through the user server to any remote terminal via an available communication channel.

The design of the self-contained cycling station “Ecozond” allows to expand the characteristics of its application in a short time by changing the composition and number of sensors, as well as by sharing stations with other systems, for example, complete with ocean buoys. This will provide information on the state of the environment from a large number of autonomous stations located in the water area and located in the zone of direct acoustic visibility from the beacon. The transmission of the measuring information to the beacon can be performed on the hydroacoustic communication channel after each measurement cycle or according to the program from the specified horizons.

The use of the station “Ecozond” complete with an ocean buoy allows:

  • Transmit data in real time (because the antenna located on the ocean buoy, is constantly on the surface of the sea);
  • Increase the range of communication with the shore (ship) post;
  • Increase storm resistance to 8 points;
  • To install additionally on an oceanic buoy an autonomous weather station and means for monitoring the state of the surface, with the transfer of data over the radio channel.

Such joint use will create systems of permanent control over marine areas and provide information on key parameters of the marine environment in real time with the aim of assessing the current impacts on critical components of marine systems.