The Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona (Barcelona Foundation for Ocean Sailing - FNOB) has committed itself to working with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) in collaboration with other scientific research institutions, to protect the environment, in particular the ocean. To achieve this, the event offers a significant and valuable platform to contribute in assisting scientific research in the world's oceans.
During the second edition of the Barcelona World Race in 2010/11, FNOB, IOC and the partnering institutions pioneered a ground-breaking partnership between sailing and ocean science, through which skippers recorded ocean temperature and salinity along its route to collaborate with oceanographers. The participating boats, in sailing through the remote southern ocean, a vastly under-sampled region that is critical for understanding climate change, used the opportunity of the race for the collection of scientific data for the first time, contributing with valuable information for developments in the fields of oceanography and meteorology.
This was an unprecedented connection between the worlds of sailing and science, which has inspired the Barcelona World Race 2014/15 to set itself further challenges. The next edition has important overarching goals:
- To broaden the data collection aspects, by having skippers transport and deploy multi-data collection Argo floats and other data measuring devices along the route related to weather observation salinity levels and surface seawater temperature. This data will all then be used for analysis by international scientific research networks, such as the Global Ocean Observing System.
- To reveal skippers as frontline witnesses to the impacts of climate change on the ocean. This is a major move by members of the sailing community to “sail with a purpose” by contributing in a valuable manner to ongoing international scientific and public-awareness efforts for the protection and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources.
Collaborating institutions: Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (ICM) from Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Institut Químic de Sarrià (IQS), JCOMMOPS, COI-UNESCO, Citclops (Citizen’s Observatory for Coast and Ocean Optical Monitoring), Barcelona Digital Centro Tecnológico (BDigital), Leitat (Common Sense Project)
Another facet of the collaboration between the FNOB and IOC-UNESCO is the celebration of the 2nd International Ocean Research Conference (IORC) in Barcelona on 17-21 November 2014, almost 10 years after the inaugural IORC. Organised by the IOC together with the Oceanography Society and the FNOB, the conference will provide comprehensive updates on the latest developments in oceanographic research, not only from a scientific perspective, but also from a socioeconomic one. It is an opportunity for the scientific community to come together to plan the coming decade of international collaboration in marine science and technology, with a view to improving ocean governance. It is the framework for the scientific and environmental ethos of the Barcelona World Race, and also defines its appeal in terms of sustainability and ecology.