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October 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 31, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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When You’re Underwater, You Can Become a Client Scientist

from the October, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The planet is warming, the oceans are warming, and the scientific community needs your help in collecting data while you are diving.

It's very simple.

You see, most trapped heat goes into the oceans where it drives hurricanes and disrupts fish populations. Satellites can measure surface temperatures, but getting data from below the surface is much more difficult and expensive. A fleet of 3,000 robot buoys provide measurements, but you and hundreds of thousands of other recreational divers could play a role too.

A study published in Science Reports shows that sport diver computers could provide accurate temperature data that would be particularly valuable in highly changeable coastal environments -- where many dives occur -- as well as in areas that are rarely sampled by other methods. According to the UK's Dive Into Science project, "This extra data could prove crucial in the efforts to understand and predict the effects of our changing climate." The scientists have already collected more than 7,500 dive records from around the world via www.diveintoscience.org

You can add your own data by downloading the simple template on the website before finally submitting it after a dive trip, and really contribute something to understanding what is happening to our planet. www.diveintoscience.org/about

Kieran Hyder at Cefas, who leads the citizen science project, said, "There are millions of sport dives every year. Making use of just a small fraction of those dives will greatly increase our knowledge of what is happening worldwide."

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