Scientists to use robotics for research

2011-07-14 21:00

Singapore - Climate scientists have turned to the US and Australian navies to deploy robotic measuring devices in the Indian Ocean where pirates have made the area too dangerous for researchers.

About a quarter of the Indian Ocean is now off limits to climate scientists trying to complete a network of deep ocean devices that gather data crucial to climate change studies and weather forecasts.

"We can't send anybody in that area. Research voyages have been cancelled and I know there's a report of at least one ship that hired an armed escort," said Ann Thresher, an oceanographer with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

"That's pretty extreme when you're talking about climate research," she said from Hobart.

Thresher said the northwest Indian Ocean played a crucial role in weather patterns in Australia and South Asia, where droughts or floods can cause major disruption to global food prices and trigger large insurance losses.

Pirate threat

In particular, data from the Indian Ocean such as salinity and water temperatures and weather observations from ships were crucial for long-range forecasts.

"Without those observations, we can't monitor that as accurately. Which means the predictions that scientists make that tells farmers how much rain are going to get or if there is going to be flooding in Queensland is not as accurate," she said.

The robotic measuring devices, called Argos, are about 2m long and drift between the ocean surface to a depth of about 2 000m, before resurfacing to send data via satellite.

The Argos measure salinity and temperature and form part of a global monitoring effort to see how the world's oceans, which soak up large amounts of heat, are responding to a warming world. Oceans shift heat around the globe and drive the world's weather.

About 30 countries contribute to the multi-million dollar programme that deploys and replaces the $19 000 floats.

The programme is heavily reliant on commercial shipping and chartered vessels to deploy Argos globally but the threat from Somali pirates meant navies were the only option this time.

The devices will be deployed over the next few months in parts of the northwest Indian Ocean.

Read more on:    climate change
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Cape Town - 07:38 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.85

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.