OGS has developed and used for marine field researches a series of support vehicles to collect meteo-oceanographic physical and chemical data. Floating buoys have demonstrated to be efficient and flexible, but generally too costly to be maintained at the sea for long periods. More recently, OGS has preferred a new family of DeepLab Sea Floor Landers, with a stainless steel structure that allows placing scientific instruments at the sea floor. These stations are equipped with an underwater telemetry system with 5 miles range able to control the releasing of a subsurface buoy for the recovery of the lander. This has to be done at due intervals, to change batteries, verify and eventually re-calibrate the marine instruments and download the recorded data.
In the current configuration, the DeepLabs are equipped with base instruments to measure temperature, conductivity, pressure, dissolved oxygen, pH, dissolved CO2, sea currents on the water column every 0.5 m and estimate waves height and direction. The Deep Lab can be used to determine the natural temporal variations of various parameters as part of pre-injection baseline surveys or as a continuous monitoring station to detect leaks at offshore storage sites.
The more recent version of the DeepLab Sea Floor Lander has been used successfully to define the CO2 base-line survey of the Porto Tolle demonstration project in Northern Adriatic and can be a useful instrumented vehicle for scientific studies at Natural laboratory of Panarea.
The shape, size and weight/thrust of the DeepLabs make them particularly robust and suitable for long-term time-series measures, minimizing damages and data loss caused, for example, by fishing activities. The modular design of power supply system and data logger, allows an easy integration with additional instruments provided by new users.
Using acoustic commands sent from a deck unit and a transducer on board, a releaser-transponder fixed to the station permits to locate it by calculating the distance from the ship, and to release a buoy for its recover without the need of divers.
The stations record time series of physical-oceanographic and chemical parameters of the bottom water and of the water column by using self recording instruments.
Support in the use of the Deeplab Sea Floor Landers will consist in: planning surveys, acquisition of the due permissions for the deployment of the Deeplab in the areas of interests, installation of additional equipment if required, positioning at the sea, maintenance and recovery of data by suitable support boats (if needed), processing of the data, their upload to internet for a long-distance access, the access to Calibration facility at OGS Oceanographic calibration laboratory (CTMO).
Deeplab system was developed in OGS using know-how on deployment methods and processing procedure to obtain Oceanographic data time series developed and continuously updated by engineers, researchers and technicians of OGS in the last 30 years.