Our research covers atmosphere and climate, biodiversity, extreme events, land management and sustainable development, oceans and coasts and our water resources.

Our environment research

We collaborate nationally and internationally to research oceans and coasts, landscapes and inland waters, and our atmosphere and climate. Our work helps to maintain the integrity of our environments, understand, prepare and respond to extreme events and ensure our natural resources are used sustainably. These presentations provide information about our research capabilities, facilities and success stories.

Our facilities and research partnerships

Centre for Southern Hemisphere Ocean Research (CSHOR)

CSIRO researchers are collaborating with researchers from the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (QNLM) and university partners the University of New South Wales and the University of Tasmania to further scientific understanding of the southern hemisphere oceans and their role in global and regional climate. Learn more about the CSHOR.

[Text appears: The Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research]

[Animation image of waves appears moving up the screen and over the text and then the image changes to show Steve Rintoul talking to the camera and text appears: Steve Rintoul, CSHOR Project Leader, CSIRO]

Steve Rintoul: We’ve got some difficult decisions to make in society.  We need to decide how we’re going to respond to the challenge of climate change and how we’re going to adapt to both natural climate variability and the climate change that we don’t manage to avoid. 

[Image changes to show a group of scientists standing around a long table and the camera pans along the table]

And the key to doing that is knowing exactly what’s going to unfold in the future as climate changes and as the modes of natural climate variability respond to that climate change.

[Image changes to show Ming Feng talking to the camera and text appears: Ming Feng, CSHOR Project Leader, CSIRO]

Ming Feng: CSHOR is important because it brings together the Chinese and Australian scientists

[Images move through of scientists and then Larry Marshall and another male clapping and shaking hands]

to tackle the most crucial questions for the world ocean climate. 

[Image changes to show Prof Matthew England talking to the camera and text appears: Prof Matthew England, CSHOR Project Leader, University of New South Wales]

Prof Matthew England:  The Southern Ocean is poorly sampled.  It’s poorly represented in models that we use to predict the climate system and it’s poorly understood because of this lack of observations and models in the region. 

[Image changes to show a view of the ocean and the image shows a multi corer being drawn up out of the ocean]

So CSHOR’s filling this very important niche to get at the Southern Ocean climate system, how the oceans are warming and what the implications are for climate change.

[Images move through of Ming Feng talking to the camera, three people looking at a piece of marine science equipment and Ming Feng talking to the camera again]

Ming Feng:  So, CSHOR project will help us to use a cost effective, robotic technology to mirror the upper ocean and the copying between the upper ocean and the atmosphere which may lead to further development of the robotic technology to apply in other ocean regions.

[Image changes to show a rear view of scientists walking through a door and then the image changes to show Susan Wijffels talking to the camera and text appears: Susan Wijffels, CSHOR Scientist, CSIRO and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute]

Susan Wijffels: CSHOR is going to interact a lot with big, international campaigns. It’s going to help us understand how to build the new observing system for the ocean and how to evolve that and also some of the projects that we’re building in CSHOR have already entrained a lot of international collaborators.

[Image changes to show Xuebin Zhang talking to the camera and text appears: Xuebin Zhang, CSHOR Project Leader, CSIRO]

Xuebin Zhang: The CSHOR is a purely scientific uni, science orientated.  So, it’s very important. 

[Images move through of the side of a ship in the ocean and then the image changes to show Xuebin Zhang talking to the camera]

So even to… we got to address some of the cutting edge of scientific questions in the ocean and the climate and the model where it brings expertise from Qing LM and the CSIRO and UNSW the UTas.

[Image changes to show Steve Rintoul talking to the camera]

Steve Rintoul: CSIRO is important because it gives us the means to tackle some of the biggest open questions in the southern hemisphere ocean science.

[Music plays and CSIRO, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, UNSW Sydney and University of Tasmania logos appears]

Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research

Researchers launch an Argo robotic float from Southern Surveyor  ©CSIRO, Alicia Navidad

Success stories

Monitoring our oceans with argo robotic floats

We're part of a major international effort to improve our understanding of the ocean through the use of a global array of robotic floats, known as Argo floats. Improving our understanding of ocean processes will enable us to forecast climate and ocean conditions more accurately.

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere operates Argo Australia, which is a component of the Integrated Marine Observing System IMOS. Argo floats are deployed, real-time processed, and delayed-mode processed at CSIRO.

Predicting and preparing for bushfires

Our bushfire research is improving our understanding of bushfire behaviour. Find out more about our bushfire research.

[Image of a green map of Australia with a flame in the middle of it appears on screen]

Narrator: Bushfires are part of life in Australia,

[Animation shows clusters of flames moving through grasslands and consuming a house]

and when they burn out of control near populated areas can cause significant loss of life and property.

CSIRO has been conducting bushfire research for over 60-years.

[Animation changes to show three circles with representative icons in them]

Bushfires can start in a variety of ways, but there are three factors that contribute to the behaviour of a bushfire.

[Animation changes to show a triangle with three representative icons, as described below in them, surrounded by a flame]

The weather, the vegetation and the terrain.

[Animation changes to show a Bushfire Danger Rating with the arrow on the Low-Moderate section]

Fire Danger Ratings for Australia’s two predominant types of vegetation, grasslands and forests, 

[Animation changes to show four circles with representative icons in them as described below]

are based on wind speed, air temperature, relative humidity and rainfall.

[CSIRO logo appears at the bottom of the screen with the words Fire Danger Model and Statistical Analysis alongside the logo]

By analysing observations and forecasts of these variables CSIRO can estimate the likelihood of fire weather and potential severity of bushfire occurrence anywhere in Australia, now and into the future.

[Animation changes to show a pixelated map of Australia in the middle of a graph showing the increase in frequency of fire weather]

Over recent decades we’ve seen an increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather in Australia.  We predict that many regions will see a significant increase in the probability of the highest levels of fire danger in the years ahead.

[Animation changes to show a house with a family of four standing out front surrounded by grasslands]

CSIRO is developing the science and tools to enable communities to better understand the changing profile of their bushfire risk and help them develop effective, locally relevant plans to protect property and life.

[CSIRO logo appears on screen with text: To learn more about bushfire prevention and response in your area, contact your local fire authority.]

Predicting and preparing for bushfires

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