Swimming jellyfish may play key role in climate change

Swimming jellyfish and other marine animals, which help in mixing warm and cold water in the oceans, may influence global climate by increasing the rate at which heat can travel through the water, a new study has found.

The researchers at the California Technical Institute fist proposed the controversial idea in 2009, but new information may help the scientists support their claim.

Dr. Kakani Katija Young, who worked on the original paper, and her team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, explained how to use a Self-Contained Underwater Velocimetry Apparatus (SCUVA).

The apparatus is used underwater at night to light up animals, like jellyfish, swimming in the ocean and also illuminates the particles around the animals, showing how the animals move the water around them when they swim.

The combined effect of all ocean life swimming in concert may have an impact on ocean climate on the same magnitude as wind.

“We felt that it is such a powerful tool that isn’t being used in the community,” Young said.

“And I feel that people learn so much better from visual material than they do from just reading text,” she added.

The study has been published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).

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