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B.Tracking Pollutants in the Coastal Ocean

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography are hoping to develop new ways to track and predict pollutants in the coastal ocean. Physical oceanographer John Largier says the effects of coastal contamination, which includes urban runoff from storm drains, are two-fold.

Largier: One is, at times it can threaten out health - the public health aspects - we might get sick if we swim in polluted water. But probably the bigger and more challenging problem that we need to overcome is the threat to sustainable ecosystem.

Narrator: Largier directs an ocean-temperature monitoring program to study how internal waves and ocean circulation may affect the transport of pollutants.

Largier: What we've been doing recently in San Diego is deploying these thermosters or temperature recorders along the coast, right from the border up to the La Jolla shores, where our institution is.

Narrator: So far, Largier has found that while ocean circulation can wash pollutants away, it can also trap them and accumulate in bays and harbors. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.