IoT-Based Technology Protects the Marine Environment

Aug 31, 2021

Oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface and include deep oceans to coastal reefs, from mudflats to seagrass beds, ocean, and marine systems. This unique marine environment provides us with food and oxygen, along with carbon capture for climate mitigation and renewable energy. Due to decades of overfishing, pollution, and unplanned coastal development, oceans face the threats of marine and nutrient pollution, resource depletion, and climate change, all of which are caused by humans. These threats place further pressure on environmental systems, like biodiversity and natural infrastructure, while creating global health, safety, and financial risks. [1]

To protect ocean sustainability, innovative solutions that prevent and mitigate detrimental impacts on marine environments are essential. Advanced data and communication technologies have been applied to various marine environment monitoring systems over the years. New technologies, including advanced data analytics and their applications in this area, aid in marine environment protection. The Internet of things (IoT) has also been playing an important role. While deploying durable IoT technology in the open oceans and other demanding environments is difficult, this equipment gathers data to signal where the opportunities are for change.

Data Analytics & IoT Sensors

Massive data collected from marine environments use advanced data analytic. The results are sent to the related marine environment management agencies or control centers for quick decision-making and real-time manual interventions to protect the marine environment from some disasters, such as oil spills. Sensors are used to respond to changes in their environments by producing electrical signals in the form of electrical current, frequency, and voltage. Sensors are selected based on the requirements needed for accuracy, deployment area and season, measurement range, power consumption, and resolution.

There are typically two kinds of sensors: physical and chemical. Physical sensors are used to measure different physical parameters like humidity, pressure, temperature, wind speed, and direction. Chemical sensors are used to measure various chemical parameters like chlorophyll, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, pH, salinity, and turbidity. Different applications use unique IoT system architectures, as well as communication, control, and sensing technologies. Below are new IoT-based marine environment monitoring applications.

Marine Environment IoT Sensors

Coral reef monitoring: It typically monitors coral reef habitats and the surrounding environments. About 25% of all marine species are found around coral reefs. Higher sea surface temperatures are directly correlated with widespread coral bleaching. Approximately 75% of coral reefs worldwide are currently threatened by a combination of local and global stressors. Without actions taken to minimize local stressors, the percent of threatened coral reefs worldwide will rise to 90% by 2030 and close to 100% by 2050. [2]

Marine fish monitoring: This system monitors water conditions and qualities including temperature and pH, measures the amount of fecal waste and uneaten feed for a fish farm, as well as fish conditions and activities including the number of dead fishes. According to a 20I8 report, nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted. [3]

Water quality monitoring: It usually monitors water conditions and qualities, including water temperature, pH, turbidity, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen for ocean bays, lakes, rivers, and other water bodies. In 2019, the nonprofit Ocean Cleanup initiative selected a satellite GPS tracker. First formed in 2013, Ocean Cleanup was created to extract plastics-based marine debris. The group aims to pull half of the waste in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years. The initiative uses a solar-powered satellite tracker to provide a fallback for geolocation data. [4]

Wave & current monitoring: It measures waves and currents for safe and secure waterway navigations. In 2018, there were nearly 2K incidents of oil spills from all causes in 2018. One example of this is the practice of some large energy companies to deploy predictive analytics to prevent oil barges from leaking vast volumes of oil into waterways. There are lots of issues where industrial watercraft are loaded the wrong way. If they’re imbalanced and hit by bad weather, they can capsize and spill fuel. One company is testing IoT technology to detect tilt levels in such a craft to detect misloading in barges to prevent them from capsizing. [4]

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