Southern Ocean Sentinel eye on the future

Antarctic sea ice
Antarctic sea ice (Photo: Nisha Harris)
Artist Lisa Robert's art installation inspired by her Antarctic Arts Fellowship.  Pictured is a visualisation of cold bottom water circulating from Antarctica. (Photo: Lisa Roberts) Artist Lisa Robert's art installation inspired by her Antarctic Arts Fellowship.  Pictured is a graph of sea levels rising over 80 years in Brisbane (Church et al. 2007) with krill embryos and adults. (Photo: Lisa Roberts)

The world’s leading experts on Southern Ocean ecosystems are in Hobart this week to discuss mechanisms to monitor the impacts of climate change on the region.

The Southern Ocean Sentinel workshop, organised by the Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre, will discuss the current research into and status of Southern Ocean and Antarctic ecosystems and how to measure any changes and impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.

The 60 scientists from Australia, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, France, Germany and South Africa, will consider cooperative research approaches needed to detect and understand these changes.

Australian Antarctic Division Chief Scientist, Dr Nick Gales, said the Sentinel program is an important forum for scientists to collaborate on their research findings and identify any gaps in knowledge.

“This is the second Southern Ocean Sentinel program workshop since 2008 and it’s vital in helping shape the future direction of research in the region.

“Through this workshop scientists will be able to develop the tools and internationally coordinated field programs needed to ensure we have a holistic picture of what’s happening in Antarctica and the surrounding oceans,” Dr Gales said.

The Sentinel program feeds into existing international collaborations including the Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics of the Southern Ocean (ICED) program and the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS).

Art in the Antarctic

Former Antarctic Arts Fellow and visual artist Lisa Roberts will also be exhibiting one of her art installations from the Living Data project, as part of the workshop.

"The aim of the project is to form part of the data that need analysis and compassion in order to understand and act in response to climate change. The challenge is to see beyond ourselves in order to understand that we are part of a whole dynamic system. Scientific expressions are necessarily measured. Artistic expressions are typically empathic. Farmers of the land and sea are traditionally pragmatic. To expand understanding beyond urban world views, we share stories, data and iconography," Lisa Roberts said.

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