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Taming Australia's last frontier


Schiller, A and Meyers, GA and Smith, N, Taming Australia's last frontier, American Meteorological Society. Bulletin, 90, (4) pp. 436-440. ISSN 0003-0007 (2009) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

©2009 American Meteorological Society

DOI: doi:10.1175/2008BAMS2610.1


With more than 6 million km2 of ocean comprising the third-largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of undersea resources in the world, the marine environment around Australia is justifiably termed that nation’s "last frontier." The increasing economical exploitation of its resources and the sustainability of its ecosystems demand an accurate knowledge of the circulation and structure of its oceans. Accomplishing this requires observations on a regular basis—in the same way meteorologists follow weather—and a significant investment to support it. Every day, marine managers and researchers worldwide draw on ever-increasing information networks fed by global observing systems, ocean general circulation models, data assimilation, and short-term ocean forecasts. This nexus of ocean observations and ocean modeling is key to the recent revolution in the realm of oceanic and ocean–atmosphere research. The implementation of a multidisciplinary Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and, simultaneously, the first operational global and regional ocean forecasting system in the Southern Hemisphere (BLUElink) is a big first step forward to increasing our knowledge of the oceans around Australia. Together, IMOS and BLUElink inform decisions about protecting marine biodiversity, risk management for sea operations and offshore industries, recreational pursuits, hazard prediction, and national security. In 2006, the Australian government launched IMOS (, a US$40 million national initiative (with a nearly equal amount invested by universities and other national research agencies) designed to monitor the oceans around Australia and provide value-added products as well as free, open, and timely access to data. IMOS records and analyzes changes in the marine environment, from the major boundary and ocean currents to the 30,000-km-long Australian coast. Based on the need for regular high-quality analyses and forecasts for the oceans surrounding Australia, the government also launched project BLUElink. The initiative took advantage of both the increasing number of global ocean observations in the last decade and the IMOS project to deliver in 2007 the first operational global ocean forecasting system with a focus on the Asian–Australian region (www.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Meyers, GA (Professor Gary Meyers)
ID Code:62130
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Centre for Marine Science
Deposited On:2010-03-10
Last Modified:2010-06-09

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