Southern Ocean Atlas

When the Aurora Australis departed Hobart on her first voyage of the season in October, she took a ‘road map’ to the inhospitable Southern Ocean. The 225-page Southern Ocean Atlas is the first of four atlases in a series that also covers the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. The atlases were produced as part of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (1990-2002) that aimed to establish the role of the oceans in the Earth’s climate and to obtain a baseline dataset against which future change could be assessed. About 30 nations, including Australia, participated in the programme, using ships to make physical and chemical observations and employing moored and drifting instrumentation. Satellites were used for global observations. Funding of Australia’s commitment to the programme was made through CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, the Australian Antarctic Division and the Federal Government’s science and environment agencies. Printing and international scientific distribution of the series has been partially funded by energy explorer BP.