The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) awarded YSI Integrated Systems and Services (a division of Xylem Inc.) a contract for five marine monitoring buoys that will collect high-quality data for researchers studying climate change in the Caribbean Sea, including the waters of Barbados, Belize, The Dominican Republic and Trinidad & Tobago.
“The Caribbean is a unique part of the world. Our waters are the ‘bread basket’ for the region, and we must be diligent in protecting and sustaining them. We are very excited to build our education and research infrastructure with the addition of this important technology project for addressing the impacts of climate change on the Caribbean ecosystem,” says Dr. Kenrick Leslie, CCCCC Executive Director.
The customized YSI EMM 2000 buoys measure, record, and transmit in real-time meteorological and water quality data as the key components of a Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS).
Coral reefs play an extremely important role in the Caribbean economy for tourism as well as food production and food security. The regions’ unique reefs have been impacted by rising sea temperatures and pollution. Long-term monitoring of environmental conditions in the Caribbean will help researchers track the health of the reefs, among the oldest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet, and mirrors similar systems already installed at key reef sites in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Data will allow development of climate models and ecological forecasting in coral reef ecosystems.
The CCCCC will work with the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The CREWS system, originally developed by NOAA, has been successfully used in modelling and alerts of coral bleaching conditions in the Florida Keys and the Great Barrier Reef, and it is NOAA’s intent to expand this alerting capability to other coral reef areas, and to better refine and enhance its alerting capabilities beyond coral bleaching. The development of the CREWS coral bleaching and other coral reef-related alert and modelling expert systems are therefore of necessity dependent upon the expertise of problem domain experts, such as those who study coral bleaching, coral reef growth, etc.
Base stations are anchored in place by Environmental Moorings International (EMI, Inc). Configuration guidance, installation, local use training and all dive support provided by Consulting for All Reef Monitoring Services (C-ARMS, Inc.)
The CREWS project is funded by the European Union and the Global Climate Change Alliance in the amount of US$617,000.00 \ € 465000.00 and is part of a wider €8,000,000 climate change project “The Global Climate Change Alliance Caribbean Support Project” being implemented by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami has also committed funds and resources for data management and coral reef support for the project.
Credits: YSI Blog, Xylem Inc.; Professor Jonathan Fajans- photos