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Amateur diving data could help climate change studies

Engadget Engadget 22/07/2016 Ben Woods
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Recreational divers could play a significant part in studying the effects of climate change on oceans thanks to the decompression computers worn by many SCUBA enthusiasts.

Nature says that the wrist-mounted trackers often provide useful data like dive time, depth and the temperature of the water. That last one is key in measuring climate change effects, as rising water temperatures can increase the occurrence of hurricanes and disrupt fish stocks.

It hadn't been known previously whether the data would be accurate enough to contribute to the big picture, but the researchers say that it's good enough to tap the 6 - 10 million "citizen-scientists" that share data on social media about their dives. Add in that it's a free source of data that could massively expand the 3,000 or so robot buoys already measuring temperature and it's a no-brainer for researchers.

"The scuba diving community represents a huge and novel source of aquatic temperature profile data over large spatial and temporal scales. Compilation of these profiles could augment existing monitoring by enhancing the number of inshore temperature profiles, and provide a resource for scientists to better understand the marine environment and organisms' responses to changes in the environment," the paper says.

So, now you can go divingand get a warm feeling for contributing to the study of climate change. Win-win.


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