Hang 10 for change
YOUR HOBBY COULD HELP SAVE COMMUNITIES THE WORLD OVER.
Surfer dudes as researchers
RISING SEA LEVELS are a certainty and an everyday reality of climate change.
Eustatic change – a change in the volume of water in the oceans – threatens coastal regions and island nations across the globe. In the near future, this will directly impact the habitats of approximately 100 million people. Sadly, the effects can already be felt. Many small islands report severe coastal erosion and face overcrowding in large towns and cities. The little-known island nation of Kiribati located in Oceania is one of the many nations facing a siege of rising tides. According to Kiribati Government, the islands are so narrow the citizens have nowhere to go.
Another of the damning effects of climate change is ocean acidification. This is the global decrease in the ocean’s ph levels due to the increase of CO in the atmosphere.
2 Ocean water with higher ph levels has been linked to inhibited shell growth in marine animals and is believed to impact on the reproduction of some fish species. That’s a big concern because fish serves as a staple for some 2,5 billion people worldwide.
But there’s hope. Your hobby could help researchers, scientists and communities.
Researchers and scientists have developed a data-capturing fin for surfboards to help measure ocean parameters. This data will, in turn, help researchers to “obtain baseline information about changing ocean chemistry”, says the Surfrider Foundation, adding: “Solutions to these problems are within our grasp.”
Founder of Smartfin, Dr Andrew Stern, says that although we have detailed information about the deep ocean, not much accurate information is available about the shore.
Smartfin makes it easy for surfers to aid scientists by gathering additional data. What makes surfers so useful is that there are more of them
than there are researchers and they tend to spend more time in the water. Once captured, the data can help the Surfrider Foundation to educate communities and help them curb the effects of climate change.
l Temperature l Location l Wave characteristics But the company says sensors that also measure the water’s salinity, ph, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll are in development.
How does it work?
The sensors are housed inside an aerodynamic fin shape. There are no strange bumps or shapes; Smartfin maintains the standard foil. In fact, the only way anyone would know the fin is electronic is the small green LED that serves as a power indicator.
When you’re done surfing, the Smartfin app will transfer the data from the fin using Bluetooth. Data from the app is sent off to be processed.
Smartfin is not available to the public yet. If you’re interested in finding out more, head over to Surfrider.org to receive a notification the moment you can buy one; it could even be in time for summer. PM