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Australian research voyage to improve understanding of climate change in Southern Ocean


Australian government scientists have departed on a 60-day research voyage to the Southern Ocean in a bid to improve the understanding of the impacts of climate change.

The team, led by national science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and government-funded Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP), departed on Friday aboard the CSIRO's research vessel (RV) Investigator.

They will travel to the edge of Antarctica in the longest voyage in the RV Investigator's 10-year history, studying ocean currents up to six kilometers below the surface and low-lying clouds for signs of how links between physics, biogeochemistry, plankton, aerosols and clouds influence the Earth's climate.

Melting ice in Southern Ocean. /CFP
Melting ice in Southern Ocean. /CFP

Melting ice in Southern Ocean. /CFP

Steve Rintoul, co-chief scientist on the voyage from the CSIRO and AAPP, said in a media release that the ocean acts as a handbrake on climate change by taking in vast amounts of heat and climate change.

"To anticipate how climate and sea level will change in the future, we need to understand how the Southern Ocean works and how sensitive it is to change," he said.

"What's amazing about the Southern Ocean is that everything is interconnected, we can't hope to understand how the region influences climate unless we measure each piece and how it fits with the other parts of the system."

An orca swims in the Southern Ocean. /CFP
An orca swims in the Southern Ocean. /CFP

An orca swims in the Southern Ocean. /CFP

The RV Investigator will sail 2,300 km south to the edge of Antarctica before returning to Fremantle, Western Australia, in early March in a 9,260 km round trip.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
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