Oceanography for Everyone – The OpenCTD

The CTD is an amazing instrument that has allowed oceanographers to explore the ocean interior. By measuring only three variables: conductivity, temperature and pressure; scientists have gained vast amounts of knowledge about the world’s oceans by examining its structure, its currents, the interleaving of water masses and even the crests and troughs of passing waves.

But all this knowledge comes at a price, a monetary price to exact. A basic CTD can easily cost over $10K, and we are talking over $70K for a huge shipboard rosette that reaches up to 5 km below the sea surface (which is the kind of system that I typically use). Don’t get me wrong, these systems are great, but not everyone needs data from the deepest depths of the abyssal ocean. In fact, a lot of people only need a really basic CTD that goes down to about 200 m to study coastal or surface phenomena. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an affordable CTD that they could use for this purpose?

Fortunately for us two scientists, Andrew Thaler and Kersey Sturdivant, are trying to do just that, designing an inexpensive CTD (under $200!) that can be used by anyone for scientific research. Their project is called “Oceanography for Everyone – The Open CTD.”  What’s not to love about this project? It’s open source, you can eventually build one yourself, and most importantly, it’s cheap.

But Andrew and Kersey need a little monetary help to get this awesome show on the road. They are therefore crowdfunding the development of the OpenCTD via Rockethub. There are only three days left and they still need over $4000. If you love the ocean and want to help them help you to learn more about the sea, consider donating to this exciting project. I already did!

The OpenCTD prototype elicited squeals of excitement from this Physical Oceanographer.

Dr. Martini (156 Posts)

Kim is a Senior Oceanographer at Sea-Bird Scientific. She received her Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of Washington in 2010. Her goal in life is to throw expensive s**t in the ocean. When not at sea, she has used observations from moored, satellite and land-based instruments to understand the pathways that wind and tidal energy take from large (internal tides) to small scales (turbulence). Her current mission is to make your oceanographic data be the best data it can be.

One Reply to “Oceanography for Everyone – The OpenCTD”

  1. Dear Dr.
    I am a MSC student in physical Oceanography. I want to model internal wave in the gulf of Oman. I should be grateful if you help ma an introduce a user friendly model for this work.

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