The microscopic, free-floating algae called phytoplankton — and the tiny zooplankton that eat them — are notoriously difficult to count. Researchers need to know how a warming climate will affect them both. A new kind of smart, lightweight autonomous underwater vehicle (LAUV) can help.
Phytoplankton form the base of the marine food chain but are notoriously difficult for scientists to account for — a little like trying to identify and count motes of dust in the air. A truly independent underwater vehicle shows it can do the job.
The countries of the world still need to cut their carbon dioxide emissions to reach the Paris Agreement’s climate targets. Relying on tree planting and alternative technological solutions such as geoengineering will not make enough of a difference.
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