CSIRO's Ocean and Atmosphere research is uniquely placed to deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits for Australia and the region. We seek to secure Australia’s future through our seas and skies.

Understanding our oceans, coasts, climate and atmosphere is fundamental to Australia's sustainable development and prosperity

Australia has the third largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and despite the importance of our marine estate we know relatively little of our marine environment. For example little of our marine estate has been explored and less than 10 per cent of marine species have been identified. Sharing our ocean's wealth for the benefit of all Australians therefore requires careful balancing of multiple uses and conservation through planning, management and cooperation. CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere provides the large-scale multidisciplinary science to inform this use of Australia's marine environment.

Understanding Australia's variable and changing climate will allow industries and communities to prepare and respond. We provide the information that checks the health of the atmosphere, whether it be information on long-lived greenhouse gases and aerosols that change the heat stored in the atmosphere, right through to hazardous air pollutants that influence human and ecosystem health. We use this information to ensure that our climate and earth system models can accurately simulate the likely impacts of human behaviour on our earth systems into the future.

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Business Unit has four Research Programs, delivering innovative science and solutions to answer the nation's biggest ocean and atmospheric questions.

[Music plays images move through of a cloudy sky, a seal moving underwater through the ocean, a tiger shark moving through the water, and a dry landscape with clouds swirling overhead]

[Images move through of a boat on the water, crates of fish being loaded at the docks, a surfer catching a wave, boats moored in a harbour, and a chimney belching flames]

[Image changes to show a map of the world globe displaying a global warming graph]

[Images move through of a large net dragging from a ship, and a piece of marine equipment being deployed into the ocean and text appears: What can we learn from unknown species…]

[Images move through of fish on the bed of the ocean and text appears: … and species just discovered?]

[Image changes to show a satellite map of Australia and text appears: $100B Expected annual economic activity within oceans by 2025]

[Images move through of a large ship moving underneath a bridge, plastic bottles and marine debris on a beach, a cross section diagram, and a sea turtle swimming on the ocean bed and text appears: How can we live sustainably, develop natural resources and protect the environment?]

[Image changes to show Australia in the world globe and text appears: 3rd Largest marine estate, 6th Largest land mass]

[Image changes to show two males in conversation while looking at some data monitoring equipment and then the image changes to show a camera rotating on a pole]

[Images move through of a male deploying a piece of marine science equipment, two colleagues in conversation inside the boat, and a school class with debris bags on a beach and text appears: How can we prepare for a changing climate and ensure communities stay safe?]

[Images move through of the Investigator moving through the water and text appears: CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Excellent science delivering impact]

[Image changes to show Dr Tony Worby talking to the camera and then images move through of two surfers running to the beach, and people watching a dolphin from a boat and text appears: Dr Tony Worby, Director, Oceans and Atmosphere]

Dr Tony Worby: The oceans and atmosphere that surround us here in Australia are such a big part of our lives that most of us from day to day tend to take them for granted.

[Music plays and images move through of a township on the seashore, a city on the banks of the Derwent River, staff working with boxes of fish, two males looking at a computer, and a scuba diver]

However here on the banks of the Derwent River, and at many other sites around Australia, CSIRO has teams of world leading marine and atmospheric researchers

[Images move through of a group looking at a data map on a Smartscreen, a piece of marine science equipment being raised from the ocean, and two colleagues looking at a map on a computer screen]

committed to solving important science questions

[Image changes to show CSIRO sites being connected with lines within Australia and then internationally in a world globe and text appears on a blue screen: CSIRO, Australia’s innovation catalyst]

that can only be answered through CSIRO’s commitment to excellent science and through our partnerships with other national and international research organisations.

[Music plays and images move through of a male walking into a CSIRO centre, a group of researchers in a meeting, a boat moving through the ice in the ocean and islands in the sea and text appears: Protecting marine environments]

[Images move through of an aerial view of the Great Australian Bight, whales breaching in the water, researchers on the beach, and Tony talking to the camera and text appears: 4 year $20 million]

In the Great Australian Bight our scientists have shone a light on the environmental, social and economic benefits of the region through a four year, $20 million research programme.

[Music plays and images move through of a male at the rear of a boat holding a rope, the male hauling in a large fish and tagging it, a shark underwater, Australia in a world globe, and a coastline]

Despite this area being well known for its iconic species such as whales and sharks, very little has been known about this vast area of ocean and coast.

[Images move through of the MNF boat deploying a piece of equipment, a close up shot of the equipment, a variety of crustaceans, and the Great Australian Bight coastline]

Much of the scientific research data has been collected through the use of measurement tools, custom designed and built by O & A’s engineering and technology programme. And now, we have a much deeper understanding of the Great Australian Bight than ever before.

[Music plays and images move through of fish teeming in the ocean, a piece of equipment being hauled back on to the boat, and a landscape with clouds swirling above and text appears: Emergency response and preparedness]

[Image changes to show Tony talking to the camera and images move through of the Investigator moving through the water, and a weather balloon being released from the boat]

Our Climate Science Centre is focussed on monitoring atmospheric conditions and deepening our understanding of the natural climate system.

[Images move through of Tony talking to the camera, a 3-D block model of a landscape, the block rotating, the block morphing into a world globe divided into sections and text appears: Global Climate Model]

Together with the Bureau of Meteorology and other partners in the tertiary sector, we’ve developed what’s known as Access, Australia’s weather and climate model, which enables us to make projections of future climate change scenarios.

[Images move through of colleagues looking at a weather map on a Smartscreen, a female’s face, a close-up of a crop, a tractor moving through a crop, and cows in a paddock]

We’ve committed major funding to the development of a decadal forecasting system to inform adaptation and mitigation strategies for Government and climate exposed industries such as agriculture over the medium to long term.

[Images move through of a stretch of coastline, and a global atmosphere watch station on the coastline and text appears: 1 of 3 premier WMO – Global Atmosphere Watch stations]

A big focus of our atmospheric monitoring work is the measurement of greenhouse and other trace gases.

[Images move through of a researcher working inside the station, data printouts of information, the researcher’s face looking down, and a computer screen displaying data]

Working together with our partners at the Bureau of Meteorology, Cape Grim in north western Tasmania is a critical data collection point.

[Images move through of Tony talking to the camera, a piece of air monitoring equipment rotating on top of a building, employees outside an air quality monitoring station, and a stretch of coastline]

Our work informs regulators who are responsible for setting air quality guidelines and we work with industry to help them monitor their own activities and understand base line conditions.

[Images move through of a computer model and satellite image maps side by side on a screen, Tony talking to the camera, clouds swirling above a dry landscape, and CFS personnel burning scrub]

The ultimate goal of our work is to deliver the information that Australia needs to develop an effective national response to climate change and to plan for the increasing risk of extreme events such as heat waves, bushfires and droughts.

[Music plays and images move through of boats in a harbour, a researcher working with samples, fish swimming in the ocean, and an aquaculture farm and text appears: Unlocking the blue economy]

[Images move through of Tony talking to the camera, a research boat moving through the water, a scuba diver on the ocean floor, and sampan type boats moored on a river]

As a developed country in a developing part of the world, Australia through the efforts of CSIRO leads research to address the regional challenges associated with sustainable development.

[Images move through a room of people listening to a presenter, people working on a boat, two scuba divers in the water, a group of people looking at kelp, and researchers working with samples]

Our scientists in Perth, Western Australia are working on collaborative projects to ensure that communities and Governments, particularly around the Indian Ocean rim understand the value of the ecosystem services which store carbon naturally and can be managed as part of the emerging blue economy.

[Images move through of Tony talking to the camera, the Chilean logo, a group of people working on a boat, two males in conversation, and a group of employees giving the thumbs up symbol]

In recent years, Chile’s large aquaculture industry has been under intense pressure and the Chilean authorities have sought to improve aquaculture management practices through a partnership with CSIRO.

[Images move through of the eReefs programme on a screen, an ocean glider being pushed into a small dinghy, the ocean glider on the ocean, fishing boats, and a marked out area in the ocean]

Our expertise in developing an integrated water quality monitoring system on the Great Barrier Reef through the eReefs project has been critical to re-establishing a sustainable long term industry in Chile and has delivered global impact for both the industry and for the environment.

[Music plays and images move through of a large fish jumping from the water, Tony talking to the camera, and Australia connected by lines to the rest of the world in a world globe and text appears: Australia is committed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030]

It’s through this excellent science that Australia is able to deliver on our international obligations in the global pursuit of a more sustainable planet.

[Images move through of Tony and a female looking at a sample of liquid, a piece of marine science equipment being deployed from a boat, and the equipment plunging beneath the water]

Here at CSIRO, we’re committed to making the measurements that help us understand baseline conditions

[Images move through of Tony talking to the camera, a researcher looking at a screen, a map on the screen, cars moving down a busy road, pedestrians, and a large orange ship moored in a harbour]

and then we couple that information with economic and other useful data to really understand from a systems perspective the challenges we’re facing and to deliver solutions for a safe and prosperous nation.

[Music plays and the image changes to show a scuba diver moving around the ocean floor and then the image changes to show an aerial view of a pristine stretch of coastline]

[Text appears: Additional Footage Supplied by, Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Michael J Lutman, Port Phillip Ecocentre, Tom Bodycomb, Earthwatch, SIMA-Austral project, Tassal]

[Text appears: For more info csiro.au/OandA]

[CSIRO logo and text appears: CSIRO Australia’s innovation catalyst]

OA Overview Video Nov 2018 :  CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere - Science with impact

The Aerospan sun photometry station at Birdsville, Australia

Climate Science Centre

The CSIRO Climate Science Centre is home to Australia's national capability in atmosphere, ocean and climate model development (including the national weather climate and Earth System model, ACCESS). In collaboration with partners, the Centre delivers climate change projections, ocean forecasting, air pollution forecasting, large-scale observations of the ocean and atmosphere and the global carbon budget.

The Centre delivers products and services to a broad range of research, government, community and industry users. A key objective of the Climate Science Centre is to deliver the climate knowledge needed for an effective national response to the challenges of a variable and changing climate.

Farmed salmon pens in Chile  © Sam Beebe CC BY 2.0


The O&A Coasts program supports the sustainable development of Australia’s coastal resources by providing decision-makers with integrated observational and modelling capabilities to assess and anticipate the dynamics and vulnerability of coastal assets.

Coasts addresses the challenges associated with coastal population growth and urbanisation, catchment degradation, habitat and biodiversity loss, climate change and opportunities like the development of sustainable marine industries.

Mitigating the impact of climate change is critical for a sustainable fishing industry

Marine Resources and Industries

Marine Resources and Industries provides scientific knowledge and tools to support sustainable development of Australia’s marine resources, including mitigation of environmental impacts and conservation of marine biodiversity.

The science deals with interactions across all sectors, in particular the interactions between the oil and gas, seabed infrastructure, fisheries and conservation and biodiversity sector.

Engineering and Technology

Engineering and Technology delivers innovative instrumentation and technical capability to CSIRO, to Australian research and commercial partners. Engineering and Technology houses vertically integrated design, manufacture, operation and maintenance teams providing a complete package of science instrumentation capability.

These capabilities deliver core technical science for the Marine National Facility RV Investigator, support increased knowledge and productivity of marine industries and deliver instruments that enable more efficient data acquisition and allow us to observe at new scales and frontier areas.

DeepBRUVS being deployed into the ocean

The DeepBRUVS studies marine life hundreds of metres or kilometres under the sea.

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