Support for climate change research

Saturday 1 May 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Environment, National

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Support for climate change research
Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative founder Stephen Lyon, left, with Pacific Divers and MMR staff pictured with the marine monitoring equipment for deployment in Rarotonga. SUPPLIED/21043041

The procurement of new technology will help local conservationists monitor how warming oceans are affecting the marine environment around the globe.

International agencies Aqualink.org and View into the Blue have donated advanced marine monitoring equipment for deployment in Rarotonga.

The Ministry of Marine Recourses and locally based non-governmental organisation, the Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative, have partnered to bring the equipment to Rarotonga.

The equipment is part of a global network of data sensors being deployed to bring better understanding to the impacts of climate change on the marine environment, says Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative founder Stephen Lyon.

The Aqualink.org equipment consists of a customised SOFAR wave spotter buoy anchored in location with a live sea temperature monitoring cable. This equipment communicates wave and sea temperature data via satellite and can be seen live on the Aqualink.org website.

View into the Blue have supplied two state-of-the-art underwater cameras that will be located in the same area as the buoy.

“They will give a live view of the reef, giving the capacity for the visual observations of reef health to be correlated with the temperature data from the buoy,” Lyon said.

The feeds from the cameras and the data from the buoy will be open source, meaning anyone wishing to use the data for research is able to.


The marine monitoring equipment is located east of Avarua harbour approximately 300 metres from the reef. SUPPLIED/21043042

This system aims to give better data to monitor and understand the impacts of climate change and particularly how warming oceans are affecting the marine environment around the globe.

The data from the buoy will also provide a valuable dataset to validate wave modelling being conducted as part of the coastal vulnerability assessment for climate change.

Lyon said: “The buoy is located east of Avarua harbour approximately 300 metres from the reef. It is marked with an orange float that will have a flag attached. The monitoring buoy itself has an orange flashing indictor light. “

Fishermen and other boat operators are asked to avoid the equipment and not to tie any boat, float or craft to it.

To view the data from the buoy visit https://aqualink.org/reefs/2985