The IMOS Blue Water and Climate Node Workshop, 28–29 November, 2012

On November 28th and 30th, 2012, the Blue Water and Climate Node (BWCN) of IMOS convened for a workshop at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in Hobart – see the agenda and links to talks at the bottom of this page. Because of the national distribution of scientists associated with the node, this was only the second BWCN workshop. The goals of the workshop were to showcase the science being done across the node and to assess the status of the science questions in the context of moving IMOS forward into new funding opportunities in 2013. The high-level science questions, as articulated in the Node plan, are:

  1. Tracking multi-decadal ocean change.
  2. Understanding and predicting modes of ocean and climate variability for the Australian region.
  3. Improving the understanding and predictability of boundary currents – the Leeuwin and East Australia Current (EAC).
  4. Discovering and understanding links between ocean and climate variability, biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem function.

The science talks on day one were well-received and showcased the breadth of science across the node, from physical oceanography, through biogeochemistry to ecosystems. Day 2 was devoted more to discussion of the science questions, where we are in addressing them and future opportunities. What follows is a brief synopsis of the major points raised.

RV Investigator

The Marine National Facility’s new research vessel, due to be delivered some time in 2013, will accommodate approximately twice as many scientists as the Southern Surveyor. This opens up greater opportunities for multidisciplinary, high-impact science, compared to the current scenario where science teams are often limited to one discipline.

Eastern Indian Ocean

At least three presenters showcased new science and emerging questions from previous work in the eastern Indian Ocean. It was suggested that much could be gained by deployment of biogeochemical sensors on existing infrastructure (moorings and floats) deployed in the region. It is also a region where the impacts of recent IMOS funding changes have been mitigated, at least for the coastal environment, by state co-investment in IMOS.

Repeat hydrography data

Several BWCN scientists are involved in and help to lead the global repeat hydrography program. It was suggested that these data streams could be hosted by IMOS. They are not currently.

Should IMOS support ‘proof of concept’ observations?

For the most part, IMOS supports well-established and field-proven technologies, including some that are highly automated, like XBT deployments. There are some exceptions such as the Facility for Automated Intelligent Monitoring of Marine Systems (FAIMMS) in Queensland. There was discussion but no firm resolution of this issue, and it was also discussed at the IMOS annual planning meeting in February. In the current funding regime there is no scope to fund unproven technologies, but this may change in the future.

Delivery of glider data to address BWCN science questions

There is a feeling in the BWCN that the gliders have not delivered well on expected data streams. This has been due to some faults with the instruments themselves (leaks), fouling and also due to difficulties in navigating the vehicles through strong boundary or Southern Ocean currents. International groups appear to be making progress on addressing the latter.

Boost data uptake through education and collaboration

There exist examples of teaching modules using ocean observatory data. If similar modules could be developed using IMOS data, they would enhance data uptake and develop undergraduate and postgraduate cohort skilled in ocean data analysis. Many academics lack the time to develop such teaching units. Perhaps this could be achieved through joint marine science/education Honours projects.

With regard to collaboration, it was suggested that IMOS data uptake could be more strongly facilitated by researchers sharing their data processing and analysis code. The eMII/AODN has started such a page, which initially hosts code put there by their data people, but could grow in the future to host code (Matlab, Python, R etc) contributed by others.

Suggest eMII focus on core business

There was unanimous support for eMII/AODN focusing on provision of data in sensible and easily accessible formats, rather than on data visualisation.

Need to begin plan for next decade of IMOS

Through the middle of 2013, the BWCN community will need to revise the science plan to position IMOS as a whole to apply for new funding opportunities anticipated in the second half of 2013. This will involve initial revision of the plan by the node leaders followed by input from the community, including a town hall meeting at the AMOS 2013 meeting in Melbourne.

Recent and upcoming BWCN activities

·         Seeing below the ice’ workshop at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, October 2012.

·         ‘Town hall’ meeting at AMOS 2013, Melbourne.

·         International engagement (Argo, CLIVAR, GO-SHIP, GHRSST, altimetry, GODAE, OceanSites, IPCC, SOOS, GOOS, IOOS).


·         BWCN scientists are using IMOS data to tackle most important problems in ocean climate science, including very significant contributions to the IPCC 5th assessment.

·         The node is productive and producing high impact publications, for example:

o   Durack, P.J., Wijffels, S.E. and Matear, R.J., 2012. Ocean Salinities Reveal Strong Global Water Cycle Intensification During 1950 to 2000. Science 336, 455-458.

o   Gleckler, P.J., Santer, B.D., Domingues, C.M., Pierce, D.W., Barnett, T.P., Church, J.A., Taylor, K.E., AchutaRao, K.M., Boyer, T.P., Ishii, M. and Caldwell, P.M., 2012. Human-induced global ocean warming on multidecadal timescales. Nature Climate Change 2, 524-529.

o   Sallee, J.-B., Matear, R.J., Rintoul, S.R. and Lenton, A., 2012. Localized subduction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the Southern Hemisphere oceans. Nature Geoscience 5, 579-584.

·         There is wide and deep use of IMOS data by the BWCN community but this could of course still be expanded.

·         There is very high leverage and co-investment in IMOS by organizations such as CSIRO, the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, the Australian Antarctic Division and the university sector.

·         The node is making significant progress on many of the science questions and we are in an excellent position to plan next decade of IMOS.

Pete Strutton, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

Steve Rintoul, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research





IMOS Bluewater & Climate Node Meeting, November 28-29, Hobart



CSIRO Marine Laboratories, Hobart



Day 1:  Celebrating Bluewater & Climate Node science



Pete Strutton




Guy Williams

Dense water formation revealed by elephant seals



Peter Oke

Data assimilation under Bluelink:  Global and regional examples



Christopher Watson

On the importance of validating the satellite altimeter climate record



Anya Waite

Eddies and low oxygen waters in the Leeuwin Current



Helen Phillips

Observations of air-sea interaction, eastward flows and eddies in the southeast Indian Ocean: a bio-physical collaboration



Randall Lee

Sustained operations on the Spirit of Tasmania 1, a partnership facility






Andrew Marshall

The scientific benefits to subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction of a Timor Sea mooring



Eric Schulz

Air-sea flux observations, some applications and results



Helen Beggs

IMOS Satellite SST - Some interesting results



Nic Bax

A National Blueprint for Marine Environmental Monitoring



Rudy Kloser

Sustained ecosystem observations - update of the basin scale bioacoustic monitoring and linkages to satellite derived primary production



Lev Bodrosy

Microbial oceanography - potential and challenges







David McLeod

The Australian Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey



John Church

Argo, ocean heat content and sea level rise



Simon Wright

Long term change in phytoplankton along the Astrolabe transect (Hobart - Antarctica)



Tom Trull

Net community production estimated from paired oxygen and total gas tension measurements at the SOTS site



Bernadette Sloyan

Indonesian throughflow array and results from repeat hydrography



Pete Strutton

The response of the Southern Ocean to the SAM and a new algorithm for satellite ocean colour






Steve Rintoul

Southern Ocean dynamics and change from moorings, floats and repeat hydrography



Vittorio Brando

Ocean color remote sensing



Ken Ridgway

Observing the interannual and decadal variability of the EAC



Eric Raes

Nitrogen fixation in the Eastern Indian Ocean



Bronte Tilbrook

Ocean carbon and acidification



Tim Moltmann

Perspective from the IMOS office






Day 2:  Bluewater & Climate Node planning meeting


Katy Hill

Development of the National Science Plan: incorporating requirements for variables and observational scales


Nick D'adamo

Indian Ocean observing system


Edward King

National remote sensing data set production and access


Sebastien Mancini

eMii and data portal



Access to and use of IMOS data by the BW&C node





New science opportunities for the BW&C node





Updating the BW&C node plan


Workshop wrap-up