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E. Tracking Global Climate Changes

Narrator: This is Science Today. By now, everyone is familiar with El Nino and its impact on global climate and weather. Peter Worcester, a research oceanographer at the University of California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says to track El Nino there's an array of seventy moorings out in the equatorial Pacific.

Worcester: These moorings each have an anchor on the sea floor and then a line that comes up to the surface of the ocean and a float on the surface that radios the data back. It takes a ship full-time just to service those moorings and keep them in place. It provides very valuable information, but it's a major effort and that's one local part of the ocean.

Narrator: Oceanographers at Scripps have succeeded in getting quick measurements of very large-scale temperature changes in the ocean using sound signals, or acoustics.

Worcester: Everyone talks about El Nino now, but there's other similar phenomena that impact our weather and climate that are very difficult to measure, to keep track of what they're doing. So the hope is that the acoustics will provide a tool that will really help us look at this larger scale variability.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.