New Zealand, U.S. scientists step up joint research into ocean, climate changes

WELLINGTON, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) — Government scientists from New Zealand and the United States have agreed to expand cooperation in their study of global climate and environment changes.

The U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) had signed a letter of intent to expand their range of joint research projects, NIWA chief executive John Morgan said in a statement Tuesday.

Cooperative activities in atmospheric, climate and ocean research would contribute to meeting the global environmental challenges facing human society, he said.

Possible future areas of cooperative activity could include ocean acidification, ship time-sharing and deep-sea exploration.

The NOAA and NIWA were also discussing collaboration on a 12- year program run by NIWA and the University of Otago to measure carbon dioxide and pH in sub-Antarctic water, which showed that surface water was acidifying in response to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“We don’t know how the oceans are going to respond. The oceans are acidifying at a faster rate than they have for many millions of years, and it will particularly impact on shell-forming animals in the sea,” said Murdoch.

Ocean acidification was already affecting the oyster and mussel industry on the west coast of the U.S. and NIWA scientists were seeing impacts on important food webs in New Zealand waters and the Ross Sea.

Other potential areas of cooperation included Antarctic research, weather-related hazard prediction and mitigation, tsunami forecasting and protected species conversation.

The two organizations were considering cooperating on a voyage in 2014, taking a NOAA remotely operated vehicle in 2014, to look at vulnerable marine ecosystems deep in the Louisville Seamount Chain, northeast of New Zealand, NIWA general manager research Dr. Rob Murdoch said in the statement.

People Daily, 14 November 2012. Article.

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