Southern Ocean processes, variability and change
Photo: Wendy Pyper
This research stream is focusing on two key questions:
- How and why are the Southern Ocean circulation and water properties changing?
- What is the impact of circulation changes on other parts of the climate system?
Research is investigating dynamic processes such as eddies, air-sea-ice interactions, water mass formation, the structure and variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and mixing between the Southern Ocean and lower latitude waters. It also includes sustained observation of Southern Ocean circulation patterns using remote sensing technology (such as satellites), ship-based measurements and ocean moorings.
If scientists can replicate current conditions and reproduce patterns of past oceanic change (through modelling) as a result of this work, they will be better able to project future change.
The research feeds into:
- IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
- Australia’s National Framework for Climate Change Science
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Kyoto Protocol)
- World Climate Research Program – Climate and Cryosphere project
- SCAR Antarctica and the global climate system