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School Ship Sagres is being equipped to study atmospheric electricity and climate changes

19th November 2019

The NRP Sagres school ship is now being transformed into a true scientific laboratory, which will allow a pioneering study of the atmospheric electricity in the marine environment and the effects of climate changes.

This new valence of the ship is being carried out by the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC), and by the Portuguese Navy under the SAIL project (Space-Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions in the marine boundary Layer), which intends to study the interaction between space and planet Earth, on a global scale, by measuring the atmospheric electric field over the sea.
The circumnavigation, which will last for 371 days, will measure the atmospheric electric field, about 100 years after the first measurements performed on board of the research vessel "Carnegie".

“Data collected at the beginning of the twentieth century allowed us to discover the global origin of the atmospheric electric field and its relationship with storms and electric discharges on the planet, but they don’t consider the most recent climate changes, in particular, the concentration of aerosols that significantly influences the atmospheric conductivity.

With this project, we want to provide measurements of the atmospheric electric field in the twenty-first century, to update what is known as the Carnegie curve, and to understand the effect of climate changes on the electrical properties of the atmosphere, ”says Susana Barbosa, a researcher of INESC TEC.

The team of this multidisciplinary project is composed by experts in robotics, oceanographic engineering, geophysical monitoring, information management, photonics and marine biology.

“The performance of several scientific experiments during this circumnavigation intends to pay a well-deserved tribute to the first circumnavigation that was only possible due to the scientific knowledge, especially in astronomy and sea navigation, in the late 15th and 16th century ”, said the Navy Military Staff Maurício Camilo, commander of the NRP Sagres school ship.

The SAIL project, which will last for three years and will be led by INESC TEC, has the Navy/MDN (CINAV), the AIR Center (Atlantic International Research Centre), the CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research) and the University of Minho as partners.

The following foreign institutions also collaborate in this project:

University of Reading, Federal University of Paraná and INESC P&D Brasil.

For more information:
Joana Coelho
Communication Service
FEUP’s Campus
Rua Dr Roberto Frias
4200-465 Porto
Tel.: +351 22 209 4297
Mob.: +351 924 444 321
Porto, 19 November 2019