Australia: Australian climate and ocean scientists are studying Earth’s most remote areas using a multi-million dollar array of high-tech underwater equipment. The kit includes sensor floats and autonomous underwater vehicles, which combine with sensor tagged animals, moored scientific stations and satellite remote sensing to form the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). These kits provide data of almost one-third of the world’s oceans.
All data collected by IMOS is available free at the institution’s webportal, the IMOS Ocean Portal. “This is a unique approach to monitoring the linkage between the physical properties of oceans, such as temperature and salinity and how they influence the marine ecosystem,” said Dr Susan Wijffels, Oceanographer and leader of the IMOS ocean and climate node.
IMOS brings together ocean and climate scientists from research institutions across the globe, including the University of Tasmania, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australian Antarctic Division, Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Sydney Institute of Marine Science, and University of Western Australia. There is also continued collaboration with northern hemisphere partners, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Korea.
Dr Wijffels, believes IMOS is helping to foster cooperation between scientific disciplines that have not traditionally worked together.
“What is happening in the open ocean is vitally important to all Australians and their understanding of local and regional climate,” IMOS Director, Tim Moltmann said. “It drives our climate and weather extremes, is the workplace for offshore industries and maritime defence activities and contains a diversity of marine life that currently is barely described. We need to observe this part of the earth system to understand how it’s changing, and what the impacts might be on current and future generations.”