The broad geographical reach of the East Australian Current (EAC) influences the climate and marine economies of nearly half the Australian population, from Brisbane to Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart. The poleward flowing EAC brings warm water down the New South Wales (NSW) coast modulating the region’s climate as well as the composition, organisation and function of marine ecosystems.
The EAC and the eddy field it produces dominate the marine environment on the narrow, NSW continental shelf. NSW-IMOS’ focus on processes north and south of the separation zone off Coffs Harbour (30ºS) and Sydney (34ºS), with observations at Maria Island (South East Australia IMOS), and at the full depth EAC monitoring mooring off Stradbroke Island (Queensland's IMOS) and Bluewater and Climate IMOS observations also contributing to the understanding of these processes.
The key research aims pertinent to NSW-IMOS are:
- To contribute to national observations of decadal changes and climate variability of the EAC using common platforms and metrics.
- To investigate the EAC, its separation from the coast and the resultant eddy field along the coast of SE Australia.
- To quantify oceanographic processes on the continental shelf and slope off eastern Australia south of the Great Barrier Reef.
- To integrate the ecosystem response with oceanographic processes.