A South African commitment to having a much greater role in both regional and global science has been articulated by the Global Change Grand Challenge science plan prepared by the science community at the request of DST.  Earth systems science under climate change requires a completely new approach that not only builds sustained high quality data but also has a capability to generate system-scale data products that are of value to both scientists and society (policy and services industries).  This is particularly so with the rapid emergence of autonomous and robotics platforms that provide high resolution data streams and require adequate satellite communications bandwidth as well as data assembly, consistent quality control and integration platforms.  The historical single discipline specialist University approach is no longer adequate to address the opportunities and challenges outlined above, particularly due to the high cost of the infrastructure and hence the resulting benefits from a coordinated shared mechanism to optimize the effectiveness of this investment.  

Over the past 7 years, with the support of DST, the SOCCO programme has built and operationalized 6 new research facilities that have opened new research areas in ocean – climate space in South Africa.  

New interdisciplinary research facilities in support of SANAP and the Global Climate Grand ChallengeFig. 1. New interdisciplinary research facilities in support of SANAP and the Global Climate Grand Challenge

  • SA Robotics & Ocean Technology Innovation Centre (SA-RobOTIC) (CSIR-STS-Universities)
  • Iron and Trace metal clean analytical experimental facility (CSIR-Stellenbosch University)
  • High precision CO2 and pCO2 Facility (CSIR)
  • Bio-optics Research Facility (CSIR)Ocean productivity and biogeochemistry facility (CSIR-UCT)

Integrated earth systems scale climate research in the Southern Hemisphere

Fig.2. Integrated earth systems scale climate research in the Southern Hemisphere

All these facilities are set up to interface with the polar research vessel SA Agulhas II and the Centre for High Performance computing to grow a 21st century Ocean research capability in South Africa (Fig. 2)

 

PI: Dr Pedro Monteiro (CSIR)

CE: Mr Derek Needham (STS)

The South African Robotics & Ocean Technology Innovation Centre (SA-RobOTIC)  in Cape Town is a state-of-the-art facility that functions in collaboration with Sea Technology Services (STS), a local engineering SME and is hosted by DEA-SANAP at the Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa. :

  • It provides a global glider-port facility for re-furbishing, maintaining and piloting both profiling and surface gliders,
  • services and calibrates ship-based equipment and sensors for ocean profiling (e.g., CTD, UCTD, XBT), and
  • serves as a platform to grow technological R&D and ocean engineering innovation in South Africa.

The Centre currently houses:

  • 3 Seagliders (Kongsberg) long-endurance, deep- profiling (1000m). Each of these units is equipped with
    • Seabird CTD (CT-sail)
    • Seabird Oxygen optode (Anderaa )
    • Wetlabs-Seabird PUC units with Fluorescence and BackscatterBB2FL
    • PAR sensor
  • 1 Slocum Glider (Webb-Teledyne) equipped with:
    • Microrider ocean turbulence (Teledyne)
    • Seabird CTD (Pumped –
    • Aanderaa O2 optode
  • 1 Waveglider (Liquid Robotics SV-2) equipped with
    • Seabird CTD-Prawler
    • Aanderaa O2 optode
    • PMEL-MapCO2 pCO2 unit
    • SeaFET pH unit
  • 2 Wavegliders (Liquid Robotics SV-3)
    • Seabird CTD
    • Aanderaa O2 optode
    • SOCCO-VeGAS pCO2 unit
    • SeaFET pH unit
    • Airmar weather station unit
  • 1 Standard Seabird CTD-Rosette: 911 24x 12L Bottles
  • 1 Geotraces Seabird CTD-Rosette: 24 x 12L GO-Flo bottles
  • 1 Ocean Science Underway CTD unit

The Centre also maintains specially adapted biogeochemical profiling floats, ship-mounted heat flux sensors and the profiling equipment deployed from ships. These new capabilities have begun to attract a number of engineering students that complete their in-service training and BTech projects at the Centre. This advances human resource development in scarce skills in the fields of marine technology, robotics engineering and scientific sensor development that contributes to innovation in South Africa.

 

Follow our gliders on twitter

Related News and Publications

PI: Dr Pedro Monteiro (CSIR)

CE: Mr Derek Needham (STS)

The South African Robotics & Ocean Technology Innovation Centre (SA-RobOTIC)  in Cape Town is a state-of-the-art facility that functions in collaboration with Sea Technology Services (STS), a local engineering SME and is hosted by DEA-SANAP at the Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa. :

  • It provides a global glider-port facility for re-furbishing, maintaining and piloting both profiling and surface gliders,
  • services and calibrates ship-based equipment and sensors for ocean profiling (e.g., CTD, UCTD, XBT), and
  • serves as a platform to grow technological R&D and ocean engineering innovation in South Africa.

The Centre currently houses:

  • 3 Seagliders (Kongsberg) long-endurance, deep- profiling (1000m). Each of these units is equipped with
    • Seabird CTD (CT-sail)
    • Seabird Oxygen optode (Anderaa )
    • Wetlabs-Seabird PUC units with Fluorescence and BackscatterBB2FL
    • PAR sensor
  • 1 Slocum Glider (Webb-Teledyne) equipped with:
    • Microrider ocean turbulence (Teledyne)
    • Seabird CTD (Pumped –
    • Aanderaa O2 optode
  • 1 Waveglider (Liquid Robotics SV-2) equipped with
    • Seabird CTD-Prawler
    • Aanderaa O2 optode
    • PMEL-MapCO2 pCO2 unit
    • SeaFET pH unit
  • 2 Wavegliders (Liquid Robotics SV-3)
    • Seabird CTD
    • Aanderaa O2 optode
    • SOCCO-VeGAS pCO2 unit
    • SeaFET pH unit
    • Airmar weather station unit
  • 1 Standard Seabird CTD-Rosette: 911 24x 12L Bottles
  • 1 Geotraces Seabird CTD-Rosette: 24 x 12L GO-Flo bottles
  • 1 Ocean Science Underway CTD unit

The Centre also maintains specially adapted biogeochemical profiling floats, ship-mounted heat flux sensors and the profiling equipment deployed from ships. These new capabilities have begun to attract a number of engineering students that complete their in-service training and BTech projects at the Centre. This advances human resource development in scarce skills in the fields of marine technology, robotics engineering and scientific sensor development that contributes to innovation in South Africa.

 

Follow our gliders on twitter

PI: Dr Pedro Monteiro

The Ocean CO2 Facility comprises the following:

  • 1 dedicated laboratory at CSIR
  • 2 VINDTA units to measure DIC and Total Alkalinity
  • 1 General Oceanics GO-8050 pCO2 unit on the SA Agulhas
  • 1 MapCO2 unit for SV2 wave gliders
  • 2 VeGAS-G pCO2 units for SV3 wave glider
  • 2 SeaFET pH units
Related News and Publications

PI: Dr Pedro Monteiro

The Ocean CO2 Facility comprises the following:

  • 1 dedicated laboratory at CSIR
  • 2 VINDTA units to measure DIC and Total Alkalinity
  • 1 General Oceanics GO-8050 pCO2 unit on the SA Agulhas
  • 1 MapCO2 unit for SV2 wave gliders
  • 2 VeGAS-G pCO2 units for SV3 wave glider
  • 2 SeaFET pH units

PI: Dr Thato Mtshali (CSIR) and Prof A Roychoudhury (Stellenbosch U)

The Ocean Iron and Trace Metals Facility comprises the following:

  • GEOTRACES trace metal clean, epoxy coated aluminium frame, 24 x 12L GoFlo carousel with Kevlar cable winch.
  • A trace metal towed fish with diaphragm pump – CHG engineering
  • A certified trace metal clean container lab equipped with circulating HEPA filters for clean air supply.
  • Flow Injection Analyser with chemiluminescence detection for iron concentration measurements and Flow Injection Autosampler for macronutrients analysis
  • An ICP-MS at Stellenbosch University for other bioactive trace metal analysis.
  • SeaFAST system at Stellenbosch University for trace metal preconcentration.
Related News and Publications

PI: Dr Thato Mtshali (CSIR) and Prof A Roychoudhury (Stellenbosch U)

The Ocean Iron and Trace Metals Facility comprises the following:

  • GEOTRACES trace metal clean, epoxy coated aluminium frame, 24 x 12L GoFlo carousel with Kevlar cable winch.
  • A trace metal towed fish with diaphragm pump – CHG engineering
  • A certified trace metal clean container lab equipped with circulating HEPA filters for clean air supply.
  • Flow Injection Analyser with chemiluminescence detection for iron concentration measurements and Flow Injection Autosampler for macronutrients analysis
  • An ICP-MS at Stellenbosch University for other bioactive trace metal analysis.
  • SeaFAST system at Stellenbosch University for trace metal preconcentration.

PI: Dr Sandy Thomalla (CSIR)

The Ocean Biogeochemistry Facility comprises the following:

  • Lachat QuikChem 8500 series set-up for the automated determination of NO3, NO2 and SiO4
  • Metrohm 848 Titrino, Digital burette and Crison pH meter for dissolved oxygen analysis
  • Turner trilogy fluorometer for chlorophyll analysis
  • Beckman Multisizer 4  Coulter Counter for characterising the size distribution of the phytoplankton community
  • Chelsea Technologies Group FastOcean fluorometer with a FastAct laboratory system for phytoplankton photophysiology
  • Access to mass spectrometer for 13C/15N analyses
  • On deck and climate (temperature & light) controlled incubators
  • Radioisotope container laboratory and photosynthetron
  • Dissolved oxygen titrino
  • Flow injection autoanalyser fluorometer
  • Incubators
Related News and Publications

PI: Dr Sandy Thomalla (CSIR)

The Ocean Biogeochemistry Facility comprises the following:

  • Lachat QuikChem 8500 series set-up for the automated determination of NO3, NO2 and SiO4
  • Metrohm 848 Titrino, Digital burette and Crison pH meter for dissolved oxygen analysis
  • Turner trilogy fluorometer for chlorophyll analysis
  • Beckman Multisizer 4  Coulter Counter for characterising the size distribution of the phytoplankton community
  • Chelsea Technologies Group FastOcean fluorometer with a FastAct laboratory system for phytoplankton photophysiology
  • Access to mass spectrometer for 13C/15N analyses
  • On deck and climate (temperature & light) controlled incubators
  • Radioisotope container laboratory and photosynthetron

PI: Dr Sandy Thomalla (CSIR)

The Ocean Bio-optics Facility comprises the following:

  • Biospherical Multi-spectral profiling radiometer (C-OPS)
  • Underway Inherent Optical Property (IOP) system with simultaneous feeds of de-bubbled flow-through seawater that can alternating via filtered or unfiltered pathways with the following inline instrumentation: WETLabs AC-S (spectral resolution of absorption and beam attenuation), WETLabs ECO BB3 (scattering at 3 wavelengths), TriOS OSCAR  (hyperspectral absorption meter), JFE Advantech multi-excitation fluorometer (Fluorescence Quantum Yield and phytoplankton community composition), Satlantic FIRe (Fluorescence Induction and Relaxation fluorometry)
  • 2 x WETLabs BB9 (high and low biomass calibrated, 9 wavelengths of backscatter)
  • CTD Optical Sensors (beam attenuation, backscattering, fluorescence).
  • Autonomous platforms e.g. gliders (with fluorescence and backscattering at two wavelengths) and specialised bio-optics floats with fluorescence, backscattering and beam attenuation sensors with the additional capability of measuring carbon export.
Related News and Publications

PI: Dr Sandy Thomalla (CSIR)

The Ocean Bio-optics Facility comprises the following:

  • Biospherical Multi-spectral profiling radiometer (C-OPS)
  • Underway Inherent Optical Property (IOP) system with simultaneous feeds of de-bubbled flow-through seawater that can alternating via filtered or unfiltered pathways with the following inline instrumentation: WETLabs AC-S (spectral resolution of absorption and beam attenuation), WETLabs ECO BB3 (scattering at 3 wavelengths), TriOS OSCAR  (hyperspectral absorption meter), JFE Advantech multi-excitation fluorometer (Fluorescence Quantum Yield and phytoplankton community composition), Satlantic FIRe (Fluorescence Induction and Relaxation fluorometry)
  • 2 x WETLabs BB9 (high and low biomass calibrated, 9 wavelengths of backscatter)
  • CTD Optical Sensors (beam attenuation, backscattering, fluorescence).
  • Autonomous platforms e.g. gliders (with fluorescence and backscattering at two wavelengths) and specialised bio-optics floats with fluorescence, backscattering and beam attenuation sensors with the additional capability of measuring carbon export.

The Centre for High Performance Computing provides high performance computing to support scientific research and the private sector’s needs in South Africa. Based in Rosebank, Cape Town. All model simulations are performed on the Lengau cluster which is ranked in the top 500 supercomputers, internationally. Current relevant specifications for the Lengau cluster are:

  • Petalop performance
  • Over 32000 cpu cores
  • Multi-petabyte Lustre storage

The Tsessebe cluster of the CHPC with over 5000 cores.

The CHPC boardroom

Related News and Publications

The Centre for High Performance Computing provides high performance computing to support scientific research and the private sector’s needs in South Africa. Based in Rosebank, Cape Town. All model simulations are performed on the Lengau cluster which is ranked in the top 500 supercomputers, internationally. Current relevant specifications for the Lengau cluster are:

  • Petalop performance
  • Over 32000 cpu cores
  • Multi-petabyte Lustre storage

The Southern African Data Centre for Oceanography (SADCO) stores, retrieves and manipulates multi-disciplinary marine information from the areas around southern Africa.

SADCO has been in existence since the 1960’s, and in its present configuration is hosted by the South African CSIR and located in Stellenbosch, about 50 km east of Cape Town.

SADCO is funded by a number of marine organisations, namely

  • CSIR
  • Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs
  • Namibian Ministry for Fisheries and Marine Resources
  • South African Environmental Observation Network
  • South African Navy

These and other participating organisations are represented on a Steering Committee, along with a representative from the maritime industry. The role of the Steering Committee is to advise on strategic and other issues, review SADCO’s operational progress and decide on work list priorities.

Historic data can be accessed through www.sadco.csir.co.za

Related News and Publications

The Southern African Data Centre for Oceanography (SADCO) stores, retrieves and manipulates multi-disciplinary marine information from the areas around southern Africa.

SADCO has been in existence since the 1960’s, and in its present configuration is hosted by the South African CSIR and located in Stellenbosch, about 50 km east of Cape Town.

SADCO is funded by a number of marine organisations, namely

  • CSIR
  • Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs
  • Namibian Ministry for Fisheries and Marine Resources
  • South African Environmental Observation Network
  • South African Navy

These and other participating organisations are represented on a Steering Committee, along with a representative from the maritime industry. The role of the Steering Committee is to advise on strategic and other issues, review SADCO’s operational progress and decide on work list priorities.

Historic data can be accessed through www.sadco.csir.co.za

'