Vast areas of Australia's oceans are being better monitored and understood thanks to an observing system which is being launched today to operate from The University of Western Australia.
The Australian Coastal Ocean Radar Network (ACORN) joins UWA's fleet of ocean gliders in the Australian National Facility for Ocean Gliders (ANFOG) - all part of the national research infrastructure of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS).
ACORN uses coastally located radar systems to map real-time dynamics of sea-surface currents. Surface currents play a major role in the trajectory of whale carcasses, but also the distribution of oil spills and contaminants, the connectivity of marine populations, and can influence the vertical and horizontal distribution of nutrients within the water column. It has been moved to UWA from James Cook University in Townsville.
In WA radars cover the Turquoise Coast - from Lancelin to Green Head - and the ocean beyond Rottnest between Guilderton and Fremantle. The data will be useful for search and rescue operations, shipping, boating, fisheries, coastal and offshore engineering and many other marine based activities and industries.
IMOS has a number of Facilities like ACORN and ANFOG around Australia operating different kinds of equipment to monitor the open oceans and coastal marine environments. All IMOS data is publically available through the IMOS Ocean Portal.
IMOS helps scientists and researchers to better understand ocean change, climate variability and extreme weather, ocean processes, and marine ecosystems in Australia. It is at the forefront of international collaboration and cooperation in ocean observing in the southern hemisphere.
The UWA Launch of the IMOS Ocean Radar Network (ACORN) and celebratory morning tea today will be followed by a workshop of experts speaking on the many applications of data from the HF radar technology.
IMOS is a national collaborative research infrastructure, supported by Australian Government. It is led by University of Tasmania in partnership with the Australian marine and climate science community.