Biogeochemical Sensors


The Biogeochemical Sensors sub-facility collects high-quality underway CO2 observations in Australian waters that would otherwise not be covered. This ship of opportunity project provides spatial coverage around Australia and in the Southern Ocean, while complementary data from moorings (CO2/Acidification moorings and Southern Ocean Time Series) are providing high frequency time series data at key sites to augment the underway measurements.

The data collected are used to track the size and variability of the ocean carbon sink in Australian regional seas and the Southern Ocean, and to determine the extent and controls on ocean acidification that results from the ocean uptake of CO2. The CO2 data streams are used to test ocean biogeochemical models and to provide baseline information used to help in establishing the vulnerability of marine ecosystems to ocean acidification. The data also contribute to international efforts to track the ocean carbon sink, providing information in the Australian region and the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean that would otherwise not be covered.

Instrumentation and Data

The pCO2 Underway System measures the fugacity of carbon dioxide (fCO2) along with other variables such as sea surface salinity (SSS) and sea surface temperature (SST) using an automated system.

The SRV Aurora Australis provides data on surface ocean CO2 for the Southern Ocean, while the Southern Surveyor and its replacement in 2014, RV Investigator, covers shelf and offshore waters around Australia from the tropics to the sea-ice edge. New Zealand National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd. (NIWA) has support the setup of underway CO2 measurements on the RV Tangaroa. The Tangaroa covers oceans adjacent to New Zealand.  These data help to determine the regional uptake of carbon dioxide around Australia and in the Southern Ocean and provide data to evaluate biogeochemical models of the region.

Useful links


Dr Bronte Tilbrook



CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship

Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)

Marine National Facility (MNF)


International programs:

Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network

Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas 

The International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project 


Your access to IMOS Biogeochemical Sensors data discovery and exploration is through the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) Portal.