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66° Sentinels of the Polar Ocean

Together, let’s initiate a network of robotic observations to discover the Southern Ocean

About the project

Oceanographers are tackling an unprecedented challenge: Explore unique environments under sea ice in the Southern Ocean using robotic profiling floats. Polar Regions are highly vulnerable to climate change – real climatic sentinels – and they also play a role in regulating the global climate. More measurements are critically needed to understand role, functioning and their ongoing changes of these extreme and unique environments. But measuring the ocean in the polar winter is extremely difficult.

In the context of global concerns about climate change, our scientific initiative aims to meet two challenges:

  • Initiate a network of scientific robots in the Southern Ocean, particularly during extreme winter and under sea-ice conditions.
  • Disseminate and share new knowledge to the general public.



In the context of drastic environmental changes, there is an urgent need to increase our knowledge of the role of the Polar Oceans. Better understanding their functioning is one of the prerequisites to predicting the impacts of human activities on our planet.

Oceanographers thus intend to perform a series of unique observations in these remote areas to document several key scientific topics: exchange of heat and CO2 between the atmosphere and the ocean, CO2 sequestration by the ocean… However, the polar oceans are inhospitable environments and difficult to access.

Under-sea-ice waters have historically been inaccessible and their properties remain, until now, practically unknown. Sea-ice freezes up in early winter and persists during the entire polar night over a large portion of the Polar Regions. With new technologies, exploration of under-ice waters is now possible and has become a new challenge in oceanographic research.

Join us in discovering the Southern Ocean to better understand its role and share up-to-date knowledge. And help us to disseminate one of the great scientific challenges of our century to younger generations.


Challenge N°1 – Dive under sea ice with robots to collect unique observations

Today, most measurements of temperature and salinity in sea-ice free oceans are carried out by underwater robots, including profiling floats. These robots generally drift at 1000 m depth for 10 days and then move up through the water, collecting detailed data until they reach the surface where they communicate and share data. More than 3,500 of these profiling floats are now available for all the scientific communities and are indubitably the "sentinels" of the ocean warming. But sea ice wreaks havoc on the current generation of robots, so this rich data network stops where the ice begins

With your help, we will initiate an observation network of profiling floats specifically adapted for extreme environmental conditions of the Southern Ocean, during extreme winter and under sea-ice conditions.

We therefore expect unique and novel observations in remote Polar Regions during undocumented periods.

Challenge N°2 – Share knowledge about the polar ocean to educate our children

Improving our understanding of the role of the polar oceans is a major step towards taking action today and preparing for the future in a context of environmental change. In this context, it is increasingly important to inform the public of our current research on polar oceans and particularly to educate younger people.

A direct web link will display the path of the profiling floats in the Southern Ocean and share their data live. The data and information received will be available to both scientists and the general public on an interactive map. These data will allow us to discover the peculiarities of marine polar environments and reveal some of its secrets until now "hidden" under the ice.

Interactive map of profiling floats already deployed in the Southern Ocean
without the ability to explore under sea-ice (they would be destroyed)

What are the funds for?


Thanks to your donations, once we reach € 20,000, we will :
•    Acquire the first profiling float of the network collecting physical and biological properties of the ocean, from the surface up to a kilometer deep, especially during extreme winter and under sea-ice conditions.

•    Ensure shipping to permit the deployment of the profiling float in the Southern Ocean and the data transmission costs via satellite.

•    Disseminate our up-to-date results through the website " mon océan et moi "

Beyond € 20,000, your generosity will allow us to acquire two ... three ... and even more profiling floats, and initiate a shared and sustainable observation network of the polar environment.

About the project owner


We are a passionate team of oceanographers. Composed of scientists, communicators, engineers, technicians and artists. We are dedicated to acquiring and sharing knowledge to the general public.

Check also our website dedicated to the public : mon océan & moi

They support us:

Fondation Université Pierre & Marie Curie (UPMC)

Fondation BNP Paribas
(for 1 euro donated, the BNP Paribas Foundation gives 1 euro)

Université Pierre et Marie CURIE

Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer

Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer

Teams and collaborators of the projects SOCLIM, remOcean and mon océan & moi


Sabrina SPEICH -  LMD, École Normale Supérieure (ENS)


To better understand the Polar Ocean and its key role on the climate, join us in this new adventure:
66° Sentinels of the Polar Ocean.