By Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate and Global Change
A study, published in Science Reports on Friday, shows that measurements taken from the decompression computers often worn by divers can provide accurate data on ocean temperatures. Scientists from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Scotland took a range of decompression computers on dives alongside scientific instruments, and showed that the results tallied. Scientists have already collected more than 7,500 dive records from around the world via the Dive Into Science website. Kieran Hyder at Cefas, who led the citizen science project stated that to undertake a global science programme that could generate this information would be hugely expensive, but there are millions of sport and commercial dives every year. Making use of just a small fraction of those dives will greatly increase our knowledge of what is happening worldwide. The potential of scuba divers to contribute to ocean monitoring is huge. The new data is 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 Dive Into Science project, which is funded by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the extra data could prove crucial in the efforts to understand and predict the effects of our changing climate.
The very interesting aspect of this approach to citizen science from an EUCC perspectives, is the overall simplicity of approach, and the possibilities for replication for European coastal water and the Mediterranean. Simplicity and replication are illustrated by the attached template, and the Dive into Science website illustrate this.
Diving enthusiasts could be used to measure ocean temperatures
SCUBA divers as oceanographic samplers: The potential of dive computers to augment aquatic temperature monitoring
Dive into Science website