Pretoria – A team of experts is heading to Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean to gather more data on weather patterns.
The team will set sail aboard the SA Agulhas II from East Pier Quay in Cape Town at around 2pm and a short farewell ceremony will be held at 11:30am.
Aboard the vessel will be the Gough 62 expedition team, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ supporting team, members from the National Department of Public Works and scientists from different tertiary institutions and industry.
“South Africa’s use of Gough Island is primarily to operate a year round weather observation station, one of three extremely important weather stations globally.
“The quality of South African and international weather forecasts relies heavily on the availability of data inputs from the Gough Island region,” the Department of Environmental Affairs said.
In order for the country to have a good understanding of severe weather events and their impact on the South African coastline, it is important to maintain data collection and increase scientific understanding, especially when facing the uncertainties that come with climate change.
“Long term data observations are crucial to pick up climate change impacts and fluctuations. In this regard, 10 drifting weather buoys will be deployed en-route to Gough Island as part of an international agreement,” the department said.
Some of the functions that will be performed include collecting diet and blood samples from the various bird species on the island and weather observation through different seasons in the year.
There are also oceanographic research projects that will be conducted during this voyage, such as the towing of the Continuous Plankton Recorder in order to measure the distribution and concentration of plankton in the Atlantic basin.