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Sea animals may provide help in forecasting hurricanes

By Jonathan Weant
Published On: May 29 2014 05:19:48 PM CDT

When it comes to forecasting hurricanes, vital data information is important.

When it comes to forecasting hurricanes, vital data information is important.

Scientists at Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort are hoping to improve that data with their new research.

It’s called Bio-loggig.

Dr. David Johnston and his team of researchers tagged hundreds of seals and whales in Cape Cod with sensors. Data collected from these devices tell scientist the position of the animals, their behaviors and also water temperatures.

“All the data can go into an ocean model that help with our understanding of how the world’s changing as it warms, and how storms might develop” said Dr. Johnston.

Hurricane models already use data from various sources above the surface, but having a network of sensors on sea animals would build a third tier of data points to fill in the gap below the surface.

“We Don’t often have the ability to make those measurements when we need them. Having animals out there in the ocean doing what they normally do regardless of the weather allows us to better understand what’s happening” said Dr. Johnston.

The idea of tagging has actually become pretty popular across the country. In fact, researchers at the University of Miami are using sharks to in order to collect this data.

According to their findings, Sharks flock to water that’s near 80 degrees, a critical water temperature at which tropical storms start to build.