February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 8, NUMBER 7, JULY 1995
OCEAN SOUND EXPERIMENTS
As a result of a compromise between
scientists and environmentalists, a controversial experiment to monitor changes
in ocean temperature could begin this summer. (See New Scientist, p. 12,
June 17, 1995.) Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers have been trying
to secure permission to begin a pilot test of acoustic thermometry, whereby
underwater sound signals are detected at great distances from their source, and
average water temperature is determined from the speed of sound transmission.
Environmental groups have opposed the plan, fearing damage to marine mammals by
the sound signals. The compromise allows biologists to control the initial sound
broadcasts, giving them an opportunity to observe any deleterious effects on
mammals. (See also "Of Whales and Ocean Warming," J. Kaiser, Science
News, pp. 350-351, June 3, 1995.)
A similar experiment in the Arctic Ocean, where environmental side effects
are less likely, is already underway with U.S., Russian and Canadian scientists.
Initial results indicate a possible warming of Arctic waters over the past
decade. (See Science, pp. 1436-1437, June 9, 1995, and a more technical
description in Eos, pp. 265, 268-269, July 4, 1995.)
International Data Access. A growing feud over the international
exchange of weather data has been at least temporarily quelled by an agreement
made at a World Meteorological Organization conference last month. The problem
has grown over the past few years as some countries began selling certain data
to commercial users, while others, such as the U.S., have maintained free
access, including access to data other countries sell. The situation is
exacerbated by the ease of data access on the Internet, and has implications for
the international exchange of other types of environmental data including
See (all 1995) New Scientist, p. 10, June 24; Science, p.
493, April 28; Eos, p. 250, June 20, and p. 202, May 16.
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