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Animal-borne sensors and the Global Ocean Observing System

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Robert Bingham.

Open to non-BAS; please contact Robert Bingham (rgbi (at) bas.ac.uk) if you would like to attend.

Animal tagging has revolutionised the way we study animals. The latest technology not only reveals animal behaviour, but also can form part of the Global Ocean Observing System by delivering crucial environmental data to the broader oceanographic community. So will animal tagging revolutionise the way we understand our climate? The highly accurate oceanographic sensors we integrated into standard behavioural tags provide temperature and salinity profiles within the water column. When these were deployed on seal species in the Southern Ocean, they provided data that is otherwise very difficult or even impossible to obtain. But the data provided by animal platforms are usually complimentary to those from other ocean observational approaches and their value is maximized when integrated with them. We discuss methodology for effecting this integration and present an example of such an analysis where the dynamics of frontal systems in the Scotia Sea are revealed in unprecedented detail. These data have revealed new insights into the driving forces of the ocean circulation around Antarctica. Global Ocean Circulation Models are now assimilating these data in near real-time, enhancing the output of weather and ocean forecasts. On a greater scale, animal-borne data improve the predictions of climate change models and can so mitigate the effects of climate change.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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