from BBC News
By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News, San Francisco
17 December 2010 Last updated at 05:02 ET
European scientists are going to try to measure the movement of the oceans by tracing their magnetism alone.
The effort will be achieved using three super-sensitive spacecraft called Swarm, which should launch in 2012.
The magnetic signal of the tides sweeping around the globe has been seen before, but the new mission would aim to observe far more detail.
It should provide additional data on how the oceans transfer heat around the Earth, a key feature of the climate.
“When salty ocean water flows through the magnetic field of the Earth, an electric field is generated and this electric field again makes a magnetic field,” explained Dr Hermann Lühr, from the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and a leading investigator on Swarm . . . Complete report