Pirates now have climate scientists walking the proverbial plank in the Indian Ocean. About a quarter of the Indian Ocean is now off limits to scientists, who deploy ocean-going robotic devices as a way to measure climate changes, predict weather and gather information for new studies.
They are turning to U.S. and Australian naval services for assistance in continuing their research without posing a risk of crossing paths with pirates. According to Australiaâ€™s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, one ship in the dangerous area has already hired armed guards to keep intruders away.
The Northwest Indian Ocean provides crucial climate information for Australia and South Asia, where droughts and floods can severely impact the cost of food that is exported globally. Water temperatures and salinity are two important factors that climate scientists measure for data that affects various countries and continents.
This climate program also keeps track of the worldâ€™s oceans and how they continue to absorb heat in a world that is continuously warming. Chartered vessels and commercial shipping are constantly used to keep the program going, but Somali pirates have caused too large of a threat to continue on with regular tests in the area, without assistance.
The robotic devices are expected to be deployed into the northwest parts of the Indian Ocean within the next several months.
Image CC licensed by BlatantWorld: US Navy searching suspected Somali pirate ship.