Oceans are the Heart and Blood of the Earth — But are They Healthy?

By Stephen Leahyapollo17_earth.jpg

Nov 27 (IPS) – If continents are the Earth’s sturdy bones and the atmosphere its thin skin, then the oceans are its heart, circulatory system and blood. And despite the crucial role played by the oceans in the health of the planet, and to our own health and well-being, there is little monitoring of ocean health.

Once the oceans were too big and too deep to probe, measure and observe, but between satellites, undersea robots, electronically tagged fish and deep sea sensors, scientists now have the tools.

On Tuesday, high-level officials began meeting in Cape Town, South Africa to see if governments have the will to create a Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) — a 10-year project to create a comprehensive monitoring system of what has been described as the last frontier.

“We have pathetically few measurements of the oceans relative to their importance to life on Earth and the extent to which we rely on them for energy, weather, food and recreation,” said D. James Baker, former administrator of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Continue reading