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Wearable sensors worn by scuba divers could contribute to climate science » Yale Climate Connections


Scuba divers experience the beauty of tropical fish, corals, and other sea life firsthand. But they also see the effects of climate change — from shrinking seagrass beds to coral reefs in distress.

van Niekerk: “It creates an imprint on your mind that’s difficult to forget.”

Neil van Niekerk is a former dive instructor and executive director of 2DegreesC. The organization wants to give divers who are concerned about global warming the tools to contribute to climate science.

2DegreesC has created what it calls the Wavelet — a low-cost, wearable sensor that measures water temperatures, saltiness, and other data.

van Niekerk: “And then built into the system is also GPS, so we know where in the world that observation was taken.”

The sensors attach to a scuba diver’s regulator.

van Niekerk: “They just float passively behind the diver’s head.”

The company is testing the technology with about 20 divers. But van Niekerk says there are millions of divers around the world. So he hopes the effort will scale quickly — and provide scientists with more insight into how global warming affects the ocean.

van Niekerk: “If there’s one thing that we can leave for the future, it’s information for this location and this time. And this is the only opportunity to make the observation, so if we miss it, it’s gone forever.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media





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