The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and CSIRO are joining forces with key Australian and US organisations to measure and understand the ocean and atmospheric conditions of the Southern Ocean.

Steve Rintoul, CSIRO Senior Scientist and the voyage Chief Scientist talks with Dave about his research.

The limited knowledge we have about the Southern Ocean’s atmospheric conditions is a major concern in current global climate models; by collecting and understanding new data, we can produce a better global picture to improve future climate predictions.

A six week voyage to the Antarctic edge aboard CSIRO’s Research Vessel Investigator will depart on Thursday, 11 January to undertake two major projects to collect important ocean and atmospheric data.

Through brand new robotic technology, scientists will for the first time continuously measure changes in the deep ocean. During the voyage researchers will deploy the next generation of Argo floats, designed to collect data from four kilometres deep, a previously un-researched depth. Data collected will allow researchers to predict the oceans continued capacity to absorb extra atmospheric heat and carbon, which will inform climate change and sea level predictions.

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The atmospheric program, called SOCRATES (Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experimental Study), will use a unique combination of aircraft, ship-based and satellite observations to collect detailed data on clouds and the interactions between incoming radiation, aerosol production, and the subsequent formation of precipitation.