Oceanic research

A lot of climate research takes place at sea, because the dynamics of the ocean are a major part of the overall climate system. Every day scientists work hard to gather data that enhances our understanding of the way the system works, and how the oceans and atmosphere interact to influence climate change. Much of this data is obtained by sophisticated technology, including remote sensors on automated buoys, miniature submersibles, and even satellites.

Windspeed sensor

Air temperature sensor

Windspeed sensor

Air temperature sensor

SURFACE MEASUREMENTS

Understanding how the atmosphere and ocean interact is vital to the study of climates. This research buoy is one of many that collect essential data such as air and sea temperature, atmospheric pressure, and wind speed, and transmit the data to a research base ship.

REEF ANALYSIS

This diver is extracting a core sample from a Pacific coral island, so that the growth of the coral reef can be analysed. Patterns of coral growth over the centuries provide a valuable insight into the oceanic climates of the past, and they also mark fluctuations in sea level.

RESEARCH SHIP

The British research ship RRS James Cook is one of several dedicated research vessels used by scientists to study oceans and climate at first hand throughout the world. With a crew of 22, it has facilities for 32 scientists specializing in every aspect of ocean research, from oceanic weather patterns to the geology of the ocean floor. The ship can stay at sea for 50 days, so it can work in the deep oceans as well as coastal waters, from the tropics to the fringes of the polar ice. Satellite links allow the scientists to exchange data with research institutions worldwide.

Satellite communications

Scientific crane

Equipment gantry

Scientific crane

Equipment gantry

ACOUSTIC PROBE

Since the 1960s oceanographers have been using sound signals to generate detailed three-dimensional maps of the ocean floor, revealing features like this long submarine ridge in the Pacific. This information is vital to research into ocean currents, since computers can now model the interaction of flowing water with the ocean floor. Sound waves are also affected by water temperature, so they can be used to detect both the flow of warm and cold water through the oceans, and fluctuations that may be linked to global warming.

OCEAN ECOLOGY

Clouds of oceanic plankton like this in the Baltic absorb a lot of the carbon dioxide that we pump into the atmosphere, and turn it into food for other ocean life. With satellite sensing, scientists can monitor the global distribution and abundance of plankton, and see how it is responding to climate change.

Microscopic single-celled organisms form a vast green cloud

Satellite image of the. Baltic Sea

Microscopic single-celled organisms form a vast green cloud

Satellite image of the. Baltic Sea

Glider is battery-powered

Navigation station

Meteorology platform -

Glider is battery-powered

Underwater Glider Ship

Ship is named after the famous British explorer and navigator Captain James Cook (1728-1779)

BENEATH THE WAVES

Automated"underwater gliders"such as this cruise silently below the water's .■_ surface, gathering data over vast distances. Able to operate independently for a month, they are equipped with sensors for detecting and measuring waves, currents, and many of the other variables that scientists use to assess the ocean's role in climate change. At intervals the gliders surface to relay the data through satellite links to oceanographic laboratories on land.

Ship is named after the famous British explorer and navigator Captain James Cook (1728-1779)

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

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