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. SeanNJ

    Sounds like they're trying to conceal the link between piracy and climate change as revealed in Pastafarianism. Ramen.

    July 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Queen

    *snicker*

    July 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CSnSC

    Sir, you need to re-read your Holy Ramen

    July 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Juan Banuelos

    Please guys, my mother needs an urgent surgery. Pls visit our site: MAMA NEEDS ABIGDIC.COM and make a donation.

    July 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Queen

    @CSinSC:

    Hi.

    July 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CSnSC

    Good day, your grace

    July 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. just a thought

    This isn't as funny as it may seem, what seems strange to me is why the effected nations cowdown to these pirates. Goodness you would think we were living in the eighteenth century or eariler. With all the modern devises avaliable it seems that these people could easily be defeted or discouraged. A simple rocket launcher could blow them right out of the water. Maybe, for some dumb reason that may be illegal

    July 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Juan'

    Its them dang butt pirates. Them homers is always up to no good.

    July 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Juan'

    I thought all the butt pirates lived over in san francisco. What are they doing out on the ocean? I bet theyve took to mollestering fish.

    July 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. just a thought

    This isn't as funny as it may seem, what seems strange to me is why the effected nations cowdown to these pirates. Goodness you would think we were living in the eighteenth century or eariler. With all the modern devises avaliable it seems that these people could easily be defeted or discouraged. A simple rocket launcher could blow them right out of the water. Maybe, for some dumb reason it may be illegal to protect yourself with deadly force–I don't know, but I do know that a rocket launcher is a cheap and effective way of defending a large ship from a little, bouncing in the water, skiff.

    July 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Juan'

    They are just poor homerseckshuls living out on the high seas. Leave the butt pirates alone.

    July 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    I can fortell the future by reading the dredges left in your noodle bowl! My professional name is Ramelamadingdong@piratemail.aarghh!!

    July 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Juan Banuelos

    My mom is a pirate. She has a parrot inside her ass.

    July 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jose'

    I am a mexikin pirate ! I eat tacos y burritos ! OLE !

    July 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Larry L

    The world needs to sink everything that floats within 500 miles of Somalia. Follow that up with arc-light bombing runs on all coastal cities. It's a festering sore on the backside of civilization and the people will only understand ruthless force. I'm certain somebody has a comment about war-mongering etc. Would you feel differently if your son or daughter was captured or killed by these vermin? The truth remains... some people need killing.

    July 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
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