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NZDF learns piracy patterns using satellite data

Paris, France: A study by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) revealed a strong correlation between successful pirate activity and wind speed and wave height. Using information from European Space Agency’s (ESA) GlobWave project, the NZDF team observed that during summer (June to September) in Indian Ocean, there were significant drop in pirate activities. The team concluded that during the summer, high waves made difficult to sail boats and hence there were less pirate activities.

According to ESA’s pres statement, drop in successful pirate attacks could be due to a number of factors such as increased security – but satellites show that climate is also controlling piracy.

Owing to security problems in the region, no in situ measurements were available, making GlobWave data uniquely placed to provide regular and accurate wind and wave height information needed. GlobWave compiles satellite data on ocean waves. Satellites can help to forecast winds and waves, and can therefore indicate favourable conditions for pirate attacks.

“What we like about the GlobWave database is that it provides different data from a number of altimeters all in the same format with a very short turnaround time between collection and being available online,” said Sally Garrett, co-author of the paper.

“In the NZDF we have very small teams of people work on projects, so the ability to access an external database rather than develop one in house enables us to include data from a greater number of platforms and analyse a longer time series.”

Source: ESA