Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)

NIVA is Norway’s leading multidisciplinary research institute focussing on water quality. NIVA is developing an information system combining data from ships of opportunity, satellite data, and in situ data from water samples. NIVA operates several Ferrybox lines, which typically provide real-time measurements of physical and biological parameters such as chlorophyll-a fluorescence, particles, oxygen, temperature, and salinity. Deck-mounted sensors measure various radiance/irradiance parameters, which are also used for the validation of satellite products. Most ships also have automatic or remote-controlled water sampling facilities, allowing for samples from areas of particular interest to be analyzed in a laboratory shortly after ships come to harbour.

A new line between Tromsø and Svalbard, crossing the Barents Sea opening and west Spitsbergen shelf, will be operational from summer 2008. This transect will be covered once per week when ice conditions are favourable (typically March to November). The vessel will at first be equipped with the basic sensors (Chl-a, temperature, salinity, and particle content). This is planned to be augmented with water sampling equipment and meteorological measurements at a later stage.

The Bergen-Torshavn-Seydisfjordur line (collaboration with MARLAB) has been operational since April 2008. This ship is equipped with sensors for temperature, salinity, and Chlorophyll-a fluorescence. Value-added information is expected through the combination of the Ferrybox measurements and data from the ship-mounted ADCP (Univ. RI). That combination provides a unique dataset on the properties of water exchanges between the North Atlantic and the Nordic Seas.

More information about the Ferrybox system can be found at Contact person for the Ferrybox systems is Nick Roden:

Figure 1. Ferrybox line between Oslo and Hirtshals

Figure 2. Example of data collected by the ferrybox between Hirtshals and Oslo.

Figure 3. Map of ferrybox lines.

Operative lines (NIVA)

  • Bergen–Kirkenes
  • Bergen–Hanstholm
  • Oslo–Hirtshals
Lines under establishment (NIVA)

  • Tromsø–Longyearbyen
  • Oslo–Kiel
Lines in cooperation with other partners

  • Moss–Hamburg–England
  • Bergen–Faeroes–Iceland
  • Bergen–Kirkenes (HI)