Inverbervie and District Probus Club

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On April 22, the members of Inverbervie and District Probus were treated to a very informative talk by John Dunn of Marine Scotland Science on the measuring and monitoring of climate change made while on a cruise on the Fisheries Research Vessel Scotia.

The FRV Scotia is a purpose-built vessel to monitor and evaluate fish stocks by means of trawling, acoustic surveys and specialised sampling. The ship is also equipped to carry out state-of-the-art oceanographic sampling in all weather conditions, and plays an important role in monitoring the seas around Scotland and beyond. It has accommodation for a crew of 17 and 12 scientists and carries enough provisions for 40 days at sea. It has been so successful that it has been copied eight times by other countries.

The vessel was on a climate change mission for the Marine Laboratory Aberdeen to measure and record what changes had taken place in our seas environment since previous trips. Although the findings of the scientists are made available to all nations, permission has to be requested prior to entering their waters.

Although sampling has been carried out since 1802 it obviously has become more sophisticated with the advances in technology. Examples of the equipment used during the sampling are an ARIES (Automated Recording Instrumented Environmental Sampler) a device invented in Aberdeen to sample plankton at great depths. It can also support large additional payloads, including: ACDP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) used to measure the flux of the waters, Optical Particle Counter; Seabird CTD system, which measures temperature, salinity and depth as it’s lowered below a vessel. To accommodate these extra loads a specialist deck crane was installed.

Copepods are the most prolific organism on the planet rich in oil which they use as a ballast to move through the different water depths. The oil also contains all the nutrients essential to mammalian survival. As they are very poor swimmers they rely on the currents for their travel and although they have been studied for decades very little is understood about them.

The research showed that Copepods are at the same level as 2005 and the temperature of the water has increased since last year. Climate change is real with 2006 the warmest year since 1807 and the seven warmest years being in this decade. The conclusion is that a rapid climate change is occurring and more monitoring and research is needed. After a series of questions and lengthy discussions Chris Greene proposed the vote of thanks.