CSIRO’s Chief Executive Larry Marshall and QNLM’s Director Lixin Wu celebrating the launch of CSHOR (Photo by Francois Fourie)

To develop a deeper understanding of the role of southern hemisphere oceans in the global climate system CSIRO has collaborated to create the $20 million Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research (CSHOR).

The Centre, based at CSIRO Marine Laboratories in Hobart, will conduct research to improve our understanding of the complex nature of the climate system, leading to information, products and services to assist Australia, China and the world to better manage the impacts of climate variability and climate change.

The Centre builds on CSIRO’s strong history of research leadership in the southern hemisphere oceans, and on our long history of international collaboration, including over 40 years of collaboration with China.

The first year

The Centre’s first year has seen the delivery of outstanding research, a strengthening of strategic partnerships, and the communication of research to scientific and public audiences. Significant findings have emerged throughout the year, with high profile research articles published by the Nature group (7 articles) and Science Advances (1 article). In total, there were 20 publications for the 2017-2018 financial year. Dr Wenju Cai’s message from the Director highlights some of the Centre’s achievements over the past year.

CSHOR projects

Open questions to be addressed by CSHOR are:

  • How will the El Niño – La Niña cycles that bring floods and drought change with climate change, including extreme events?
  • How do the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans interact to drive variability in the climate of Australia, China and the rest of the globe?
  • How does the “warm pool” north of Australia influence regional and global climate, and can better understanding of warm pool dynamics enhance weather and climate predictions?
  • How will changes in the ocean, including warming and interaction with Antarctic ice shelves, impact sea level rise?
  • Will the southern oceans continue to slow the pace of climate change by taking up heat and carbon dioxide at the same rate in the future?
  • What is driving rapid change in the abyssal ocean?

Current research projects:

  1. Understanding present and future dynamics of ENSO, the IOD (project page)
  2. Indo-Pacific interbasin exchange (project page)
  3. Coupled warm pool dynamics in the Indo-Pacific (project page)
  4. Southern Ocean dynamics, circulation and water mass formation (project page)
  5. Southern Ocean observations and change (project page)
  6. The role of the Southern Ocean in sea level change (project page)