University of Tasmania

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Taming Australia's last frontier

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 01:57 authored by Schiller, A, Meyers, GA, Smith, N
With more than 6 million km2 of ocean comprising the third-largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of undersea resources in the world, the marine environment around Australia is justifiably termed that nation’s “last frontier.” The increasing economical exploitation of its resources and the sustainability of its ecosystems demand an accurate knowledge of the circulation and structure of its oceans. Accomplishing this requires observations on a regular basis—in the same way meteorologists follow weather—and a significant investment to support it. Every day, marine managers and researchers worldwide draw on ever-increasing information networks fed by global observing systems, ocean general circulation models, data assimilation, and short-term ocean forecasts. This nexus of ocean observations and ocean modeling is key to the recent revolution in the realm of oceanic and ocean–atmosphere research. The implementation of a multidisciplinary Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and, simultaneously, the first operational global and regional ocean forecasting system in the Southern Hemisphere (BLUElink) is a big first step forward to increasing our knowledge of the oceans around Australia. Together, IMOS and BLUElink inform decisions about protecting marine biodiversity, risk management for sea operations and offshore industries, recreational pursuits, hazard prediction, and national security. In 2006, the Australian government launched IMOS (, a US$40 million national initiative (with a nearly equal amount invested by universities and other national research agencies) designed to monitor the oceans around Australia and provide value-added products as well as free, open, and timely access to data. IMOS records and analyzes changes in the marine environment, from the major boundary and ocean currents to the 30,000-km-long Australian coast. Based on the need for regular high-quality analyses and forecasts for the oceans surrounding Australia, the government also launched project BLUElink. The initiative took advantage of both the increasing number of global ocean observations in the last decade and the IMOS project to deliver in 2007 the first operational global ocean forecasting system with a focus on the Asian–Australian region (www.


Publication title

American Meteorological Society. Bulletin










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Amer Meteorological Soc

Place of publication

45 Beacon St, Boston, USA, Ma, 02108-3693

Rights statement

©2009 American Meteorological Society

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Climate variability (excl. social impacts)

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