Directorate-General for Research & Innovation logo Horizon: the EU Research & Innovation magazine | European Commission logo
Receive our editor’s picks

Into the deep - underwater machines keep an eye on climate change

  • The shells on crustaceans and molluscs off the Norwegian Atlantic coast are not as thick as they once were. This is because of ocean acidification, where increased carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is absorbed by water, which raises its acidity. Researchers on the EU-funded FixO3 project, which finishes in 2017, are able to keep track of the growing CO2 and rising acidity levels in the water where these creatures live thanks to a device in the Norwegian Sea which collects data round the clock from as d
  • Similar tools are being set up all around Europe as part of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO), which is part of the EU’s centrally coordinated research infrastructures, to measure how human activities affect our oceans and worsen climate change. As well as providing food and producing oxygen through the organisms that live within them, our oceans and seas regulate our climate by transporting warm water from the equator to the poles and cold water in the other direct
  • Data is transmitted from machines at the bottom of the ocean either through fibre optic cables or via buoys on the surface, which are linked to satellites. Scientists on land can then track this data, either in real time or with a delay depending on the system, and monitor pollution, climate change and even tsunamis over time. While the machines do require regular maintenance, it means that researchers are able to study the long-term health of our oceans while cutting down on costly expeditions. Image court
  • Some of the findings to come out of these observatories are expected to be included in future reports by the UN’s influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. EMSO’s tools, such as one monitoring seismic activity and pressure on hydrothermal vents in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, will also help the EU know if it has reached its goals of improving the health of Europe’s seas by  2020, as set out in the EU’s Marine Directive. EMSO is also the European counterpart of initiatives in the US, Japan, China, Au
  • Similar tools are being set up all around Europe as part of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO), which is part of the EU’s centrally coordinated research infrastructures, to measure how human activities affect our oceans and worsen climate change. As well as providing food and producing oxygen through the organisms that live within them, our oceans and seas regulate our climate by transporting warm water from the equator to the poles and cold water in the other direct

More info

EMSO

FIXO3