Wealth from our Oceans
www.csiro.au/OandA | March 2015
Welcome to CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere e-news
NEW NINGALOO REEF partnership announced   PLASTIC WASTE piles up in our oceans   NEW CLIMATE CHANGE projections for Australia
PLUNGING into new markets   INVESTIGATOR sails to the ice edge   CARBON DIOXIDE levels hit new heights

Feature > Ningaloo reef under the microscope in new research partnership

searching for MH370

The World Heritage Listed Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia will be the focus of a new marine research partnership between CSIRO and BHP Billiton Petroleum.

The five-year, jointly-funded $5 million research program will include both deep and shallow reef research, turtle and shark tagging, a PhD scholarship scheme and opportunities to engage the local community, including BHP Billiton Petroleum employees, in Exmouth, WA.

The investment in marine science will help the oil and gas industry to better understand the reef and help target conservation efforts.

This research will provide baseline data on the condition of the ecological values of the reef, which will allow assessments over time to determine any changes. It will provide the vehicle to translate the results that come from this new scientific research into improved management practices, so that Ningaloo can be used safely and responsibly for generations to come.

The program builds on CSIRO's extensive decade-long shallow coral reef and turtle tracking research.

Read more about our new partnership

Need to know >

Plunging into new markets

CSIRO has collaborated with Tasmanian SME Specialised Industrial Products to make significant improvements to traditional heavy chain mooring systems, which the oil, gas and fisheries industries rely on to hold equipment in place off the coast. While the current mooring systems can withstand the power of the ocean, there is risk that they damage the delicate sea floor. The newly developed mooring system uses an advanced rubber bungee, that stretches with the dynamics of the water, to overcome major limitations of traditional systems. Read more about these improvements on our blog.


8 m tonnes of plastic in the oceans each year

Around 8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste go into the oceans each year, according to the first rigorous global estimate published in Science last month. The research conducted by CSIRO scientists in collaboration with international colleagues found that around one third of plastic waste found in the ocean originates from China and 10% from Indonesia. This work paves the way to improving global waste management and reducing plastic in the waste stream. Learn more about this by reading the story on the Conversation website or by reading the article in Science.

  plastic washed up on a beach

Image: Timothy Townsend

New climate change projections for Australia

The most comprehensive climate change projections ever produced in Australia were released in January this year. Produced by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, the projections are based on stronger evidence and provide more regional detail. The research helps the natural resource management sector plan for and adapt to future climate challenges. Visit our blog or the Climate Change in Australia website to read more about these projections.

Research vessel Investigator sails to the ice edge

The new Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator recently completed a series of cold water trials 2,500 km south of Hobart. The vessel, built by CSIRO and commissioned as Australia's only dedicated blue-water ocean research facility, enables world class research in our vast marine estate. The recent voyage to the ice edge allowed scientists to test key capabilities of the ship in low water temperatures. The Investigator's first research voyage left Hobart on 22 March to deploy deep sea oceanographic moorings in the Southern Ocean. Visit the website or the investigator blog to find out more.

ocean wave

Atmospheric carbon dioxide tops charts again

The US government's greenhouse gas monitoring site at Mauna Loa in Hawaii has confirmed that its average recorded carbon dioxide levels for February topped 400 parts per million (ppm) – the first time that this has been seen in a northern winter month. Mauna Loa is one of three key sites identified by the World Meteorological Organisation for long-term carbon dioxide measurements. In the Southern Hemisphere, the key collection site is at Cape Grim in north-west Tasmania where much of CSIRO's international global atmospheric research is centred. Visit our ECOS blog or the Mauna Loa website for more information.

Quick bite >

Vale Dr Mike Raupach – CSIRO colleague and world leading scientist Dr Mike Raupach passed away in February this year. He was one of the nation's foremost climate researchers and excelled as a communicator. His legacy lives on through the Global Carbon Project, which he co-founded.

Meet our experts

Dr John Church is a world leading expert in the study of sea-level rise. John was recently appointed a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, a highly regarded and internationally recognised honour.

Retired CSIRO scientist Tony Rees was named the 2014 Ebbe Nielsen Prize winner at the prestigious Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) annual awards celebrating excellence in biodiversity informatics research. This recognition is a fitting end to his illustrious career.

Dr Sean Pascoe was recently awarded the 2014 International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade (IIFET) Distinguished Service Award, for his significant contribution to fisheries economics to improve the management and conservation of marine resources in Australia and internationally.

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Collaborating for impact

O&A researchers are working with partners BP, the South Australian Research and Development Institute, University of Adelaide and Flinders University to unlock the mysteries of the Great Australian Bight's vast area of ocean and coast. The joint research program will examine oceanography, ecology and geochemistry of the area.

O&A Research Scientist Dr Mark Hemer is making waves in his investigations into ocean surface waves and their application to ocean renewable energy. Mark and his collaborators recently secured a contract with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to continue this new and exciting research, which will also be delivered internationally.

More on our collaborations.
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... just a nibble

Dispersant Master Class – CSIRO will facilitate a master class on chemical dispersants to discuss best-practice advice and current state of knowledge around dispersant use. For more information please email enquiries@csiro.au

Top of Nature – prominent journal publisher Nature released its annual ranking of institutions in the Asia-Pacific region. CSIRO topped the 2014 list for the Earth and Environmental Sciences category (10 publications). We also topped the list of organisations publishing in Nature Climate Change.

The Greenhouse conference series is set for another instalment in 2015. Heading to Hobart in October the Greenhouse 2015 conference will focus on atmosphere, oceans and ice.

Ask us ...
We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you have about CSIRO's ocean and atmosphere research. Email us now.

More >


- Breakthrough on elusive greenhouse gases

- The thorny issue threatening the coral reefs of the Pilbara

- The Shark'o'meter – a computational model to count reef sharks

- Response of El Niño sea surface temperature variability to greenhouse warming

- Five questions about tropical cyclones that you need answered

Enquiries: Chris Gerbing +61 3 9545 2312 chris.gerbing@csiro.au

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