|June 2006||National Research Flagship||www.csiro.au/wealthfromoceans|
Meet one of our scientists
A modeller specialising in the interaction of all the oceanic processes, Dr Matear's research background reflects the multi-disciplined nature of current CSIRO climate science through the Wealth from Oceans Flagship.
Dr Matear's recent most research covers –
Dr Matear believes rising levels of CO2 are changing life in the ocean. Every day, the average person on the planet burns enough fossil fuel to emit 11 kg of CO2 to the atmosphere, out of which four kg are then taken up by the ocean.
"We are starting to see the initial influences of ocean acidification caused by increasing levels of CO2 in the ocean.
"The oceans have the chemical capacity to eventually take up 80 per cent of anthropogenic carbon and, alongside research to identify deep-sea storage options, there must also be research to track the impacts on marine life and supporting ecosystems," Dr Matear said.
Dr Matear's career began with an engineering degree from the University of Saskatchewan, at the time a direction well-suited to the vibrant Canadian oil sands industry that made Calgary and Edmonton two of the fastest growing cities in North America.
A fall in the price of oil in the early 1980's was perfect timing to consider other options, including a switch to oceanography at the University of British Columbia for his Masters.
After a spell backpacking around Australia and New Zealand he returned to Canada and the Institute of Ocean Sciences, Victoria, to complete his PhD with a focus on carbon uptake in the ocean, authoring papers in his post-doctoral studies of carbon uptake in the North Pacific.
"Interest was growing in the carbon cycle and the challenge then was to develop models and interpret the data.
"When I joined the organisation in 1996, CSIRO wanted to build an earth model system and needed ocean and land surface simulations of the carbon components, and I was keen on the earth system approach which I see as definitely the way ahead for Australian science.
"There are many
opportunities for scientists to model all the elements and impacts and in
the case of the oceans, to understand how the ocean takes up carbon and to
project those influences on all levels of the marine ecosystems and right up
to ocean food chain," Richard says.
Richard supervises four PhD students in a strongly-focused Southern Ocean research environment comprising streams in the Wealth from Oceans Flagship team, at the Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research, at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre to which he is also attached, the University of Tasmania and the Australian Antarctic Division.
Such a research cluster is important for the future of regional climate science, and Dr Matear has been a strong advocate of the CSIRO-University of Tasmania Quantitative Marine Science scheme to train future ocean and climate modellers.
"There is a
world-wide shortage of modellers and this scheme is significant in creating
the capacity and knowledge that will keep Australian decision-makers
fully-informed about a range of forecasts and impacts," he said.
IN THIS EDITION:
MEET THE SCIENTIST:
The Wealth from Oceans Flagship is a CSIRO initiative and part of the National Research Flagships program that aims to deliver scientific solutions to advance Australia's most important national objectives. One of the largest scientific initiatives ever mounted in Australia, it aligns closely with the Federal Government's National Research Priorities. The initiative brings together our national research resources to deliver breakthroughs in fields ranging from healthcare to light metals and the environment.
Editor: Sylvia Bell
PO Box 93
North Ryde NSW 1670
Phone: +61 2 9490 8006
Fax: +61 2 9490 8811