Science & Technology

This groundbreaking simulator produces a huge indoor ocean

“It’s a complex mixture of chemistry, biology and physics,” said Grant Deane, a Scripps oceanographer and co-principal researcher at Soars. “This is one of the things we have discovered in the last 15 years. These complex interactions in this thin layer of sea level, and what happens there affects clouds, ice, weather and climate. We Have got NS Understand the boundaries and their role in climate. ”

Soars gives oceanographers unprecedented control over these variables. So far, scientists have been able to run complex computer climate models to estimate, for example, CO increases.2 Levels may change the chemistry of surface water. These models are useful, but have a coarse resolution. Due to its limited computing power, the model divides the ocean into pixels on a scale of tens to hundreds of kilometers. When scientists try to work on a centimeter scale, they will be waiting for results for a very long time. Soars allow oceanographers to meander equipment from the walls of tanks to obtain CO.2 Measurement on a very fine scale.

Illustration: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Another option for scientists is to go on a research vessel. However, while you can run more than $ 20,000 a day to use a boat, Soars costs $ 1,500 to $ 2,000 a day. Stokes and Dean believe that depending on the nature of the study, researchers may need machines for days or months. The simulator will be open to Scripps or other researchers.

In a relatively short and simple experiment, it is necessary to measure how wind speed and wave size affect the number of aerosols flying off the surface of the water. Or you may want to know how the “albedo” of the ocean changes, that is, how much of the sun’s energy is reflected. As the simulated ocean gets rougher, the white hat bounces off much of the sunlight, but the calm, dark water absorbs it more and gets hotter.

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In longer and more complex experiments, we grow microbes and plankton (small plants and animals that float at the mercy of ocean currents) and play with water and temperature to see how they react.Or researchers could mess with atmospheric CO2 Current concentration 420ppm On earth. “One of the first things we do is pump CO.2 See how it affects living things at up to 600ppm, “says Deane.

What do all these experiments have in common? Control. Oceanographers can only study the actual ocean as it is and at this time. Soars allows you to essentially fast forward to a world of high temperatures and CO.2 level. “You can turn these knobs to get a very accurate estimate of what your future system will look like,” says Stokes.

This groundbreaking simulator produces a huge indoor ocean This groundbreaking simulator produces a huge indoor ocean

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