Data is a critical scientific discovery. Much of what is achieved in the modern world has been through improvements in techniques that help us observe, analyze, interpret, and collect data. Humans have done with data in all aspects of their lives, is a mark of their curiosity and of course creativity. Ocean has also not been spared in man’s quest for data. As it can be well understood that ocean is one of the largest sources of productive data, and it is readily available for observation.
The Area of Ocean Data Gathering So Far
More and more data regarding the Essential Ocean Variables (EVs) is coming in forefront in the recent times, be it the temperature, concentration of CO2, and salinity, etc. Not just the quantity but the quality of this scientific data is acceptable. The amount of data on the ocean since 2015 has been far more than all the combined amount of data gathered previously. It is a testament to how far the developments in technology have come.
The methodology and the scientific equipment used to gather oceanic data fall under the abbreviation GOOS. GOOS stands for Global Ocean Observing System. It is one of the key missions that is a joint venture of IOS – UNESCO. Under this program, several sensor technologies, floats, and drifters are deployed in and around the ocean to collect data and make observations.
The mission also supports several other programs, such as the Argo program, which uses the scientific equipment through floats to collect the data on the salinity and temperature of the ocean at different levels of depth. The program has grown very popular over the years, and also ithas been deployed at all the seas across the world.
Why is Ocean Data Gathering Important?
Ocean data gathering is a unique scientific activity that gives valuable information about the conditions of the ocean and which has a significant impact on other areas of human life. For instance, it helps determine sustainable fish stocks, and so does it ensure support and the safety of maritime shipping, etc. Furthermore, relevant information from the ocean data can help understand the requirements of maintaining a healthy ecosystem and also give valuable insights to policymakers towards the overall economic growth.
What are the Major Problems in Ocean Data Gathering?
Although there have been sustained advancements in ocean data gathering in the recent times, there is still more room for improvement. It is essential because the ocean is just way too vast in terms of depth. Scientists know and explore more amount of Mars than the oceanic floor of earth, as much of it has remained unexplored. If initiatives were to be made for increased ocean exploration, then finance must be secured along with building international partnerships for newer explorations. Some of the problems that are faced in the area of ocean data gathering are briefly mentioned below.
- Due to the ocean’s vastness, it has not been possible to monitor the ocean comprehensively.
- There is a lack of ocean exploration initiatives and funding as well. At the most, expeditions and funding are engaged with at a regional level.
- There is a possibility that unforeseen and dire circumstances can arise during the expeditions, and there is not enough technology that can reduce the expenditure of funds or human efforts.
What Can Be Done to Enrich Ocean Data Gathering?
Several things can be done at different levels of society for its enrichment. In fact, Ocean data gathering must not be restricted to elite scientists or strict scientific instructions only. The basic scientific principles should be followed. Some of these solutions are as mentioned herewith:
- More and more citizens can be involved in ocean data gathering. Of course, these citizens would be required to have a scientific background. It would be a simple matter of crowdsourcing. Such crowdsourcing would only require low–end, low–cost scientific instruments. At times, even the naked eye is enough, along with a few basic instructions for the citizen observers. Involving citizen scientists would rather create enthusiasm in the general population and notice that ocean data gathering is essential for the ecosystem’s survival.
- People living near the coastal regions can be invited to gather biological samples, which can be handed over to their nearby laboratories for processing or analyzing the samples.
- The ocean data gathering can also be given to citizen scientists to record the weather conditions and observe them minutely.
- There are many ships on the ocean by the day for trading purposes. A collaboration between ocean shipping and oceanographic communities would do well for ocean data gathering.
- The personnel on these trading ships can deploy scientific instruments such as the Expendable Bathythermagraphs, which are used to monitor the ocean’s temperature.
Therefore, it can be said that even though there are improvements in terms of technology but there is a lack of intention and financial resources. The few suggestions mentioned above can help to increase the enthusiasm for ocean data gathering in the general public. Even direct help can be taken from the citizens, which will certainly support in reducing the cost and efforts put in to collect ocean data. Another way to reduce time and money spent towards ocean data gathering is by creating cross border oceanic partnerships.
The above mentioned efforts are essential because, with abrupt environmental changes due to human activity, the ecological systems across the world are severely imbalanced. Ocean data gathering can definitely help understand what is being done and how it can be rectified easily. Furthermore, these small measures will also go a long way in creating awareness and urgency regarding maintaining a healthy oceanic ecosystem apart from enriching the entire process of collecting Ocean data.
Such efforts are certainly going to bring a big transformation. It is high time scientists as well as people with keen interest in Oceanology take initiative to welcome a new dawn in this most important sector for a revolutionary change.