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Boost for climate change research

The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences has received two new grants to help support climate change research in and around the Island.

According to a BIOS spokeswoman, recent grants from the National Science Foundation will allow the restoration of the Tudor Hill Marine Atmospheric Observatory, which was damaged by Hurricane Gonzalo last year.

The site had been used to monitor chemical interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere since 1988.

“Scientists working at the observatory in Bermuda have studied the atmospheric particles that influence climate, and the pathways of pollutants carried by winds from North America to the Atlantic Ocean,” the spokeswoman said. “However studies slowed last October, when Hurricane Gonzalo tore down the 23m aluminium tower that provided the platform for atmospheric observations.

“A grant awarded to BIOS scientist Andrew Peters, who runs the Tudor Hill Observatory, will help install a new tower structure and expand the facility. In addition to the tower, a habitation unit will be built to provide on-site sleeping accommodation for up to two scientists, as well as washing, cooking, and dining facilities. With the ability to take a nap, prepare meals, or brew coffee, scientists can comfortably conduct experiments around the clock.”

The improvements are hoped to inspire new collaborations and potentially pave the way for more researchers coming to the Island to conduct experiments.

Meanwhile a second grant, awarded to BIOS scientist Ruth Curry, will support continued data collection on board the container vessel ‘Oleander’.

Since 1992, special instruments installed on the vessel collects information as it travels between Bermuda and New Jersey.

“It is essential to monitor changes to this dynamic region of the ocean, which impacts societally relevant issues such as coastal fisheries, regional weather, and global climate,” the spokeswoman said. “The ‘Oleander’ data has already provided unique insights into recent warming trends and shifting currents.

“With the new grant, Ms Curry and her team will upgrade ageing instrumentation aboard the ‘Oleander’, work to make the data more accessible for scientists, and help highlight findings from the programme for public audiences.”

Ms Curry herself said: “The beauty of these measurements is that they provide regular, detailed snapshots of this area of the ocean, at a time when human impacts are becoming increasingly serious issues.”