Some of Europe’s top marine scientists are meeting at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), near Oban, this week to evaluate current scientific understanding of the rapid changes in the North Atlantic affecting circulation pattern, climate, ecosystems and fisheries.
SAMS, Scotland’s largest independent marine research organisation, is hosting an event to mark the 40th year of a regular ocean expedition along the ‘Ellett Line’, which has been running from the west coast of Scotland to the deep water of the Rockall Trough since 1975. The sea line is named after former SAMS scientist David Ellett, who recognised the importance of creating a time series to gauge oceanic climate variability.
The next expedition will run from May 28 to June 18 and follow the ‘Extended Ellett Line’ to Iceland. The expeditions are run jointly between SAMS and the National Oceanography Centre.
Dr Stefan Gary of SAMS, a research associate in physical oceanography, who is organising the event, said: “This long time series allows us to see how and where changes have been occurring. Over the last 20 years the waters to the west of Scotland have been getting ever warmer and saltier. The data from our study is crucial to our understanding of future climate change in northern Europe.”
Commenting on the gathering of scientists at SAMS Dr Gary said: “I’m a physicist but our group here also includes chemists, geologists and biologists so that we can develop a whole systems understanding of the causes and implications of the changes in the North Atlantic. Society needs the best scientific information possible to manage the marine environment sustainably.”