Pirates stifling climate research, scientists say
Pirates in the Indian Ocean hold the crew of the Chinese fishing vessel FV Tian hostage in 2008.
July 15th, 2011
01:38 PM ET

Pirates stifling climate research, scientists say

Pirates in the Indian Ocean are hijacking scientists' ability to collect data on climate change, researchers say.

Ann Thresher of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, in an e-mail interview Friday with CNN, said the threat of piracy has effectively shut off a critical portion of the Indian Ocean to research.

" This is affecting weather observations," Thresher said. "All data that feeds into measurements of climate change, ocean heat content, weather prediction and the prediction of ocean currents.”

The problem could leave Australia vulnerable in preparing for adverse weather such as monsoons, oceanographer Susan Wijffels said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"So the Indian Ocean as a whole is very important for Australian climate and that area in particular is where there's a lot of evaporation that happens to fuel the Asian monsoon and not having data there I think is problematic for predictions of what the monsoons are going to be," she told the ABC.

Thresher said the area where attacks have occurred is “roughly ¼ of the Indian Ocean.”

“This first affected us directly in February/March of this year.  We applied for permission from the Seychelles (Islands) to deploy Argo floats in their territorial waters. This permission was denied on the basis of the potential for piracy in this area,” Thresher said.

Pirates have gotten increasingly bold in recent years, orchestrating a series of high-profile hijackings off the coast of Africa and beyond. More recently pirates attacked a tanker crew and had to be rescued by the U.S. Navy.

Researchers have also had to turn to naval forces, Thresher said.

"Currently we have one float on a U.S. naval vessel ... and have asked the Royal Australian navy for help in deploying in the far northwest Indian Ocean."

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Filed under: Australia • Climate change • Environment • Pirates • Science • Weather
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. s kel

    maybe the republicans hired the pirates to hold up the truth about global warming, lol

    July 16, 2011 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. just the truth

    @ just a thought , i got a rocket to launch " Up your a$$ and after words in your mouth and straight down your throat " b***h ! ! !

    July 16, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. force required

    So there's a problem with pirates? Well obviously there should be retaliation. Start sinking pirate boats and maybe you'll see a decrease in pirate activity. Pirates could be equated to school bullies. They'll keep taking from the weak lower classman until he punches him in the nose. After that they usually get the idea and leave them alone. I believe we just need countries to take bolder steps in keeping our oceans free.

    July 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Claude Slagenhop

    Oh no! You mean your grant money went to pay for all those buoy's and you aren't even going to get your vacation? Global warm this you sorry moocher. Global warming is a farce.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
    • xavier

      you are an idiot

      July 22, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • xavier

      Need to go with scientific facts, not lame emotion based republican induced BS.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
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