On Thursday, a team of leading Australian scientists began their mission to launch robots deep in the Southern Ocean. The purpose of this journey is to grasp a better understanding of the effects of climate change. The team comes from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and began their journey on the vessel called Investigator. They want to release 11 Argo-floats near Antarctica. These autonomous robots are going to offer data from depths of up to 5,000 meters. This is about 3,000 meters deeper than any other research that has been made in the Southern Ocean.
According to Steve Rintoul, Voyage Chief Scientist, the data they will obtain from the robots is going to shed some light on the southern hemisphere’s capacity of absorbing carbon dioxide and heat. He also explained that the oceans strongly influence the climate of the planet. This is why the Southern Ocean needs to be studied, because it’s so big and might have a great influence. It may even offer some clues regarding how climate change will affect the world over the next few decades.
Sending robots to gather information on climate change
The Southern Ocean is famous for absorbing more heat than any other ocean on the planet. This is why it contributes so much to the global sea level change. It also influences the melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. So, experts need to have a better understanding of this fascinating ocean, but it’s impossible to obtain it through humans. So, these Argo-floats were the best alternative.
Rintoul explained that this is the first time these robots will be used near Antarctica. They will provide year-round data and measurements. Hopefully, they will also fill a huge data gap that the climate research community has been trying to fill for years. The clouds over the Southern Ocean are also interesting as they don’t resemble any other clouds on Earth. It may be because of the lack of pollution, but this is not a certainty right now.
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