Ocean Detectives Return with Climate Clues

The longest science voyage by CSIRO research vessel RV Investigator has returned to Australia with one of the most comprehensive datasets ever collected in the Southern Ocean.

Over 60 days and 12,000 kilometres, the voyage led by the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP) and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, travelled south from Hobart, west along the Antarctic ice edge, then north to arrive in Fremantle tomorrow.

Co-chief scientist Dr Steve Rintoul, from CSIRO and AAPP, said the new data, collected from the ocean abyss up to six kilometers deep to low-lying clouds two kilometers high, will provide important clues about how the Southern Ocean drives climate patterns in Australia and the rest of the globe.

“The work reveals how microbes in the ocean control the brightness of clouds in the sky, how melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet is altering deep ocean currents that extend around the planet, and how much iron is available to support growth of marine plants.”

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