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New submarine station to help forecast disasters
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An underwater observation station to help forecast natural disasters will be built in Hangzhou Bay near the estuary of the Yangtze River, officials said yesterday.

Jointly set up by the Shanghai ocean bureau, Shanghai meteorological bureau and Shanghai seismological bureau, the station will be used mainly to observe crust movement and to study the ocean's physical, chemical, biological and geological processes to prevent earthquakes and other disasters, an official with the Shanghai Municipal Ocean Bureau, surnamed Yang, said.

Forecasts from the underwater station will help to augment an early warning system and allow authorities to make disaster preparation plans such as the evacuation of people, Weng Guangming, another official with the bureau, said.

The station is expected to be the starting point for the establishment of a nationwide integrated ocean observation network, sources from the 2007 Shanghai Ocean Forum said over the weekend.

Wang Pinxian, a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said an ocean observatory station is equivalent to an underwater weather station.

Ocean currents will not affect the station's mechanisms as its devices are placed deep in the seabed.

Researchers said the station will also help advance the study of ocean movements and their interaction with the earth's continents and the atmospheric layer for early detection of natural disasters.

Marine scientists said the submarine observatory will help to shed light on the earth's dynamic changes and track how these affect the surrounding environment.

Experts have said that rising sea levels and marine degradation are seriously damaging water resources and ecologies.

More effort is needed to protect the ocean environment using relevant technologies, Chen Kehong, deputy director of the Shanghai Science & Technology Committee, said.

(China Daily December 26, 2007)

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