The objective of this project is to democratize access to oceanographic information through a single repository that places Magallanes as a pole of scientific development and facilitator of environmental decision-making.
In a next stage it is expected to incorporate data from the Antarctic Peninsula.
The Data Observatory (DO) in conjunction with the Center for Dynamic Research in High Latitude Marine Ecosystems (IDEAL) of the Austral University of Chile (UACh) have just launched the Time Series of Environmental Data platform for the Magallanes Region and the Antarctic Peninsula (STARM, www.starm.cl), unpublished repository of oceanographic and meteorological data.
The platform is freely accessible to researchers, organizations and citizens interested in using oceanographic information collected in recent years in the region, which includes oceanographic cruises, weather stations, anchorages and a FerryBox system. All this information seeks to promote scientific development and contribute to the delivery of quality data to decision makers in the region.
Starm.cl is a platform that allows you to store, manage, curate, and share historical oceanographic data from the Magallanes Region, from the IDEAL Center belonging to the UACh, which, in addition to data, provides high-resolution maps and other visualizations that are easy to interpret and download. The platform contains physicochemical and biological information on the ocean surface that is being collected between Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams, as well as oceanographic surveys carried out in the Beagle Channel, two weather stations, and anchor systems; information that will be updated automatically.
Ricardo Giesecke, academic at the Institute of Marine and Limnological Sciences of the UACh and associate researcher at the IDEAL Center, points out: “The platform is already operational and available to its users, who only have to register to be able to download their data for free. Data is obtained from various monitoring platforms deployed between Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams, which cover various temporal and spatial scales.”
The objective of this project is to democratize access to oceanographic information under the FAIR principles, which ensure that digital resources can be easily found, accessible, and allow interoperability and reuse of these. We seek to integrate regional information that is stored in various repositories, in some cases without analyzing or processing, in order to turn Magallanes into a pole of scientific development and facilitator of environmental decision-making, making use of critical data for regional development.
Giesecke comments that, in a next stage, they hope to incorporate oceanographic data from the Antarctic territory to STARM, until today very scarce in the world and of great interest to the scientific community. He also adds that researchers from Germany have already expressed their desire to contribute their data to the platform, thus expanding the impact and scope of the initiative.
Currently, a continuous monitoring system is being completed, using a ferry as a work platform, to which a series of equipment has been installed to measure environmental parameters along the navigation route (Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams). The Yaghan vessel of the Austral Broom company makes 6 trips per month, covering a distance of more than 500 km per trip, which provides essential information to understand the dynamics of fjords and channels in the region. During navigation, the following is continuously recorded: Temperature, salinity, pH, nitrate concentration, chlorophyll, dissolved oxygen, CO2 partial pressure, turbidity, among other surface water parameters.
“Until now, the platform has been of great help to identify the points with high presence of microalgae, evaluate the distribution of nutrients, and if these are related to discharges from continental systems or inputs from oceanic masses, which would make it possible to identify places more productive for fishing, for example; or to identify important places for the sequestration of CO2 from the atmosphere,” says the researcher.
For his part, José Garcés, also a professor at the UACh’s Institute of Marine and Limnological Sciences and an IDEAL researcher, pointed out: “As a researcher, it was very important to participate in this project, since we are going to provide society and the scientific community with information on Patagonia that until today is biased and not very accessible. The platform is also easy to view, allowing researchers to view information online in graphical form and download the data for their own research. Probably, with the information obtained and the future one, it will be possible to make comparisons of at least 10 to 12 years, associated with global warming and the great oscillations that affect the region such as the Antarctic Oscillation (Southern Annular Mode,) El Niño Oscillation of the South and the Pacific Interdecadal Oscillation”.
Álvaro Paredes, STARM project development engineer at Data Observatory, highlighted the importance of this initiative, since as an organization “it allows us to generate a standard platform to reuse in other projects and topics, and interact with the Magellan research team, delivering geophysical measurements obtained from different types of variables and instruments. As DO we are opening a vein of oceanographic data, since we recently developed another project associated with fishing data. In STARM the user will be able to access a map in which he will be able to spatially identify the measurement points, display available variables and their respective time window, and apply depth/time filters as appropriate. As for the infrastructure, the platform is highly available, allowing the simultaneous connection of different users without losing performance, processing information directly in the cloud and in a serverless manner”.
As for other executing partners of the project in the territory, Fani Ortega, manager of heritage management in Parque del Estrecho, contributes to it by providing the land for the installation of a weather station in Punta Santa Ana, at the service of the platform. In this regard, she points out: “The station was installed in 2017 and since then we created an agreement that commits us to weekly download and send the data it collects, such as temperature, atmospheric pressure, rainfall, wind speed and direction. Soon these data will be in STARM and we hope that this will contribute to enriching the information of scientific and educational interest, in addition to providing inputs for the development of new content for our museum rooms open to the community”.
For his part, Edmundo Villarroel, TABSA’s maintenance manager, explains that in the last 3 months they have already made about 12 trips measuring data. “We accept the installation of the FerryBox equipment on the “Yaghan” ferry, as well as the completion of a preliminary feasibility study to house the equipment in the ferry’s engine room. Subsequently, we developed a power system for the equipment to extract the water and take the samples using a microcomputer-controlled equipment. We trust that this project and the data that it shares will contribute to the knowledge of our territory for scientific development and decision-making of various kinds, being the spirit of our company to be part of all the advances that are generated in these matters”.
Data Observatory is a non-profit public-private-academic collaboration, led by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Knowledge and the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism, together with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Adolfo University Ibanez (UAI). Its mission is to acquire, store, process, analyze and make available large volume and quality data sets, to contribute to the development of knowledge, science, technology and innovation, thanks to data science and AI