In this undated image provided by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), workers at sea maneuver a robot that collects key data used for forecasting monsoon and rainfall. Driven away by Somali pirates, international scientists are asking Australian and U.S. navies for a favor – deploy 19 robotic instruments in the Indian Ocean to record critical data on climate and monsoon, an official said Friday, July 15, 2011. (AP Photo/CSIRO)
(AP) — Driven away by Somali pirates, international scientists are
asking the Australian and U.S. navies for a favor: deploy 19 robotic
instruments in the Indian Ocean to record critical data on climate and
Australian and British robots will be released by the two navies over
the next six months, said Ann Threhser, a lead scientist at the
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization,
Australia’s national science agency.
is concerned about climate change and this is the first big program
that can monitor climate change in the ocean,” Thresher told The
Associated Press on Friday.
robots collect key data used for forecasting monsoon and rainfall in
Australia and South Asia. A “hole in our observations means our errors
are much larger, our uncertainties are much larger and we can’t tell
farmers what to do because we don’t know ourselves,” she said.
nearly 2-meter (6.5-foot) -long robots are programmed to drift 1,000
yards (meters) for 10 days, then fall 1.5 miles (2-kilometers) into the
ocean to collect data before ascending to the surface and transmitting
information to satellites.
provide near real-time observations of conditions such as heat and
salinity patterns, which drive the climate and monsoonal systems that
bring rain to Australia.
multinational program, which deploys 3,000 instruments globally, relies
heavy on commercial shipping and research and chartered vessels to
deploy the instruments.
the region north of Mauritius being a no-go area for most vessels due
to pirate activity,” scientists have been unable to seed about
one-quarter of the Indian Ocean since the increase in piracy, Thresher
International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center reported
Thursday that 163 of 266 attacks globally in the first half of this
year, or 61 percent, were carried out by Somali pirates, largely in the
Indian Ocean. This was up from 100 attacks by Somali pirates in the same
period last year.
pirates also hijacked 21 ships, down from 27 in the first half last
year, thanks to increased ship vigilance and action by international
navies including the U.S., Malaysian, South Korean and Indian.
level of international and military cooperation is tremendously
important to us in building a sustainable operating ocean-borne system,”
She said no scientist has been threatened by pirates.
has more than 300 robots actively working in the multinational program,
the second highest after the U.S., reporting to international data
centers from the Indian, Pacific and Southern oceans and the Tasman Sea.
the naval vessels, Australia has also chartered a South African yacht,
which deployed seven instruments near Mauritius in the relatively safer
western Indian Ocean.
will deploy another 15 instruments between Mauritius and Fremantle in
Australia, where it will pick up another 39 floats for deployment
northwest of the Australian North West Shelf, an area free of piracy.
SOURCE: The Associated Press