The Svalbard Underwater Observatory

Fig. 1) Position of the AWIPEV Underwater Observatory in front of the "Old Pier" in NyAlesund / Svalbard. (Photo: Max Schwanitz)

The AWIPEV-COSYNA Svalbard Underwater Observatory was initiated in 2012 by installing a remote operated permanent ferrybox system and an underwater profiling sensor unit in Kongsjord at 78° 92'N / 11° 9'E close to the old pier (Fig. 1)

The observatory comprise a land based FerryBox system (4HJena engineering) at the base of the pier and a profiling sensor unit under water (AWI & Loth informatik). Both, the base of the profiling sensor unit and the water inlet of the FerryBox are located about 40 m off the end of the "Old Pier" in 11 m water depth (+/- 1 m tide).


The FerryBox is equipped with the following sensors and is operated year round.

  1. Temperature (SBE45)
  2. Conductivity / Salinity (SBE38)
  3. Oxygen (Anderra)
  4. Chlorophyll A (Turner)
  5. Turbidity
  6. pH
  7. pCO2 (Contros)
  8. Total Alkalinity (Contros)

Sampling intervall of most sensors is 1Hz, averaged over 30 sec. (-> 120 values per minute and parameter). Sampling intervall of the TA-analyser is 30 min.

The Underwater Unit is equipped with a CTD (Sea&Sun), a PAR sensor (Wetlab) and a custom made stereoscopic fish observatory (RemOs1) and a Webcam. This unit is fully remote controlled and can profile between 11m water depth and the surface. Additionally, an upward looking stationary ADCP is positioned in 13m water depth (Teledyne, 600Hz). As the FerryBox, also the underwater unit is operated year round. The sampling intervall of the CTD and the PAR sensor is 1Hz (1 value per second), the ADCP saves one data ensemble every 20 sec. and the stereoscopic fish observatory saves one image pair every 30 min.The webcam is permanently online.

  1. CTD-sensors => Temperature, Conductivity / Salinity, Oxygen, Chlorophyll A, Turbidity
  2. PAR-sensor => Photosynthetic Active Radiation
  3. ADCP => Current and wave height
  4. Stereoscopic fish observatory (RemOs1) => Fish, macroinvertebrate and jellyfish species composition, abundance and species specific length frequency distributions.
  5. Webcam => Online system and environmental control (available only within the AWI)