News and events

Seals aid climate modelling

A seal with a CTD tag attached
A seal with a CTD tag attached ©

21 July 2008

Oceanographic data collected by seals as part of the ‘Marine Mammals Exploring the Oceans – Pole to Pole (MEOP)’ project are now quickly made available to climate modellers.

State of the art instrumentation (CTD tags) developed by the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) are attached to over 150 individual seals worldwide. These instruments record the temperature and salinity profile of the water column as the seals dive. On surfacing, the data are transmitted via satellites to SMRU.

Through our liaison partnership, BODC have been working with SMRU to make these data available via the Global Telecommunications System (GTS). We are responsible for downloading, encoding and delivering data to the GTS on a daily basis. This allows the near real-time data collected by the seals to be incorporated into various meteorological and oceanographic models.

More about MEOP

MEOP, an international project, started in July 2007 as part of the fourth International Polar Year (IPY). It involves tagging deep-diving seal species to provide data on their location and behaviour, and information relating to the waters they inhabit.

The project's aims are two-fold

It builds on the previous projects, Southern Elephant Seals as Oceanographic Samplers (SEaOS) and the South Atlantic Variability Experiment (SAVEX) which sought to gain a better understanding of how elephant seals interact with their physical environment.

Related BODC pages

More news and events       Our partnership with SMRU

Related external links

Marine Mammal Exploring the Oceans – Pole to Pole (MEOP)       Fourth International Polar Year (IPY)
Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU)       Southern Elephant Seals as Oceanographic Samplers (SEaOS)
Global Telecommunications system (GTS)       South Atlantic Variability Experiment (SAVEX)