Western Australian Integrated Marine Observing System (WAIMOS)

Summary

Marine environments of northern and western Australia are strongly influenced by oceanic boundary currents off the coast. The longest and most unique of these is the Leeuwin Current that originates from the northern region of Australia influencing more than 2/3 of the continental slope and shelf regions of Australia as far as Tasmania.

The response of the equatorial Pacific to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation is transmitted from the western Pacific Ocean to the northern and then western Australian coast via the equatorial and coastal waveguides, so that the Western Australian marine environments are very sensitive to climate variability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Over the past 6 years, the Western Australian IMOS (WAIMOS) Node has been implemented to observe, monitor, simulate, and understand climate impacts through the variability of the oceanic boundary currents of northern and western Australia, and their influences on the continental shelf and coastal environments, marine ecosystems and biodiversity. 

At this stage the key science-questions are concerned with:

 

  • Multi-decadal variation, it’s regional structure, mechanisms, impact on the Leeuwin Current and ecosystems
  • Interannual climate variation and weather extremes (such as Ningaloo Niño), local versus remote forcing of the marine environment and ecosystems and regional feedback-dynamics, if it exists
  • Dynamical studies of the Leeuwin Current, its relationship to El Niño Southern Oscillation, its eddy-field and connectivity to inter-basin flows (Indonesian Throughflow and the Indo-Pacific supergyre)
  • Continental shelf and coastal processes, the relationship of shelf waters to offshore circulation (Holloway Current, Ningaloo Current, Capes Current, continental shelf waves and tides)
  • Ecosystem studies focussed on key species linked to exotic higher trophic level biota (e.g. krill in Perth canyon linked to Blue whales; small prey near Abrolhos Islands linked to nesting birds; larvae in the Leeuwin Current linked to juvenile bluefin tuna), drivers of water quality and benthic ecology, and their impacts of iconic fisheries and ecosystems
  • WA launches Blueprint for Marine Science

    The Western Australian Blueprint for Marine Science Initiative, launched today, guides the foundation of a long-term collaboration between all sectors operating in the marine environment.[more]

  • UWA student wins award for Holloway Current research based on IMOS data

    University of Western Australia Oceans Institute PhD student, Mohammad Hadi Bahmanpour, was awarded the student ‘Best Poster’ at the International Coastal Symposium (ICS) held in Sydney in March. [more]

  • Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham visits the IMOS Ocean glider Facility

    The Minister took time during his visit to the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre on Monday to check out NCRIS-funded IMOS infrastructure. [more]

  • OceanCurrent ‘game’ helps Rotto swimmers plan their race

    Swimmers in tomorrow’s annual Rottnest Channel Swim in Western Australia will be able to plan a tactical race thanks to a new tool created by IMOS OceanCurrent.[more]

  • Ocean Glider missions revealed much in 2015 but were not without their challenges

    The IMOS Ocean gliders facility had a busy and successful year with a total of 26 deployments and, importantly, 26 recoveries in 2015.[more]

  • Understanding the impact of the Indian Ocean on WA climate

    New research* led by CSIRO has described how heavy rainfall caused the top layer of the southeast Indian Ocean to be less salty, creating a barrier layer which trapped the heat during the deadly marine heatwave – La Niña and the...[more]