Oceans are critical to life of Earth

The oceans around us affect almost all aspects of our lives - from our weather and climate, through to our food and well-being. Australia marine estate is the third largest in the world, and is highly diverse with many unique components. From our coastline to the abyssal ocean, from the tropics to Antarctica, scientific research is central to understanding how the oceans work and managing human activities that depend on it or affect it.

[Music plays and an image appears of waves crashing in on the shore and text appears: Australians love the ocean]

 

[Image changes to show an underwater view of the ocean bed and the camera zooms in on a star fish and text appears: but so do other creatures]

 

[Image changes to show a small marine creature and text appears: We know of 33,000 marine species]

 

[Image changes to show a whale’s fin emerging out of the sea]

 

[Image changes to show an underwater view of a shark swimming near a diver and text appears: but as many as 470,000 are yet to be discovered]

 

[Image changes to show an underwater vessel moving along the ocean floor]

 

[Image changes to show a view of the coastline and text appears: At 13.86 million square kilometres]

 

[Image changes to show a school of fish swimming]

 

[Image changes to show a view of the Australian in the world globe which is in space and text appears: our marine estate is the 3rd largest in the world]

 

[Camera zooms in on Tasmania on the world globe]

 

[Image changes to show a view of the Great Barrier Reef and text appears: The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system]

 

[Image changes to show a tropical fish swimming around a sea plant]

 

[Image changes to show a view of an ice shelf in the ocean with the RV Investigator in the foreground and text appears: Australia’s Antarctic Territories host deep ocean life]

 

[Image changes to show an orange spider like sea creature]

 

[Image changes to show a fish turning over in the water and the fin appears above the surface of the water and text appears: and those that surface]

 

[Image changes to show four penguins on an ice shelf]

 

[Image changes to show four people in a CSIRO Marine Research dinghy type boat and text appears: Ongoing research is helping us make new discoveries]

 

[Image changes to show two males reaching out to haul in a piece of marine science research equipment]

 

[Image changes to show the RV Investigator in the distance and icebergs in the foreground and text appears: understand how oceans are changing]

 

[Image changes to show an iceberg in the ocean and text appears: and how we can protect them]

 

[Image changes to show the cover of the OCEANS publication and text appears: Download your free copy of OCEANS now]

 

[Music plays and the CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s innovation catalyst]

 

[Credits appear]

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Australia – at the forefront of marine research

The world's oceans are connected and collectively influence global climate, marine biodiversity, transport, and fisheries. So whilst Australian marine research often takes place within the Australian marine estate it does include important regional (e.g. fisheries) and international (e.g. oceanography, blue carbon) science collaborations. In Australia, collaborative research is underpinned by important infrastructure like the Marine National Facility and the Integrated Marine Observing System. Our scientists are at the forefront of marine research, find out why.

The Oceans book

About the Oceans book

The Oceans book, produced by CSIRO Publishing, provides a brief, accessible description of some of the key features of our marine estate, overviews of some areas where primary marine activities are supported by research, and some predictions of what marine research might look like in the near future.

Read the Oceans book

Science and ocean use

Our oceans are accessed and used by a diverse range of people, communities and industries, who in many cases have competing interests. From fisheries to search and rescue, from energy production to ocean pollution, from coastal development to ocean based transport, this book section explores how Australian marine science is being applied to understanding the mixture of uses, the impacts of human use, and how ocean use can occur sustainably.

Read more about sustainable fisheries

Future ocean science

Technological innovation in the marine sector is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Observation and analysis of oceans is predicted to become increasingly automated and the proliferation of robots will change what research can achieve and how long it will take. New ocean variables are being measured from space, and citizens are becoming more engaged. This book section looks at the future trends in ocean science and future challenges we will need to overcome.

Read more about marine technologies

Book spotlight: Climate and oceans

Australia lies in the ocean dominated Southern Hemisphere and is surrounded by oceans that play key roles in determining the weather and climate we experience. Oceans store around 93% of the heat that is accumulating in the Earth system, whilst warming oceans and loss of mass from glaciers and ice sheets is causing sea levels to rise. Ocean acidification is a consequence of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, and coastal regions are subject to danger from cyclones, storm surge and inundation. Read more about oceans and climate.

[Music plays and the image shows people on a beach and then the image changes to show a yacht on the ocean and text appears: Oceans impact Australia’s climate and weather]

[Images move through of Australia in the world globe, a cloudy sky, people surfing on a beach, the world globe, and spray coming over the bow of the RV Investigator as it moves through the water and text appears: Influencing rainfall temperature, tides, snow and cyclones]

[Image changes to show a bushfire generating thick smoke and text appears: drought, heatwaves and bushfires]

[Image changes to show water crashing on to a beach and text appears: floods and tropical cyclones]

[Image changes to show surf moving up the beach and text appears: Every second the earth absorbs heat]

[Image changes to show an image of an atomic bomb exploding and text appears: equivalent to 4 atomic bombs or 60,000 tonnes of TNT]

[Image changes to show people working on the deck of the RV Investigator and text appears: More than 93% of this energy is stored in oceans]

[Image changes to show an iceberg in the ocean and text appears: melting polar ice and warming land]

[Image changes to show people at the beach playing and relaxing and text appears: Hot water expands and sea levels rise]

[Image changes to show people at the beach with a city in the background and text appears: worsening the impacts of storm surges, and king tides and erosion]

[Image changes to show people working in a multi-corer on the deck of the RV Investigator and text appears: Ongoing research is vital to understand the changes to our oceans]

[Image changes to show the RV Investigator moving through the water and text appears: and how to protect them]

[Image changes to show the cover of the OCEAN publication and text appears: Download your free copy of OCEANS now]

[Music plays and CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s innovation catalyst]

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Book Spotlight: Operational oceanography

Ocean models using data collected from satellites, ocean buoys and other sources can now be used to deliver accurate forecasts and analysis of the three-dimensional ocean in near-real-time. Operational oceanography provides indispensable services to the general public, marine industries and defence. From the search for MH370, to naval operations, to the real-time ocean conditions in yacht races, operational oceanography is an important and practical part of marine science. Read more about our Bluelink project.

[Music plays and an image of a spinning world globe appears and then images appear inset across the world globe of Australia’s marine territory and a small spinning world globe and text headings appear: Marine Estate, Australian Marine Territory]

 

Narrator: Australia has the third largest marine estate in the world extending from the coast to the abyssal ocean, from the tropics to Antarctica. 

 

[Inset image changes to show a large sea turtle swimming and then the inset image changes to show a colourful fish swimming around coral]

 

Our vast marine estate includes an immense diversity of plants and animals, energy and mineral resources.

 

[Inset image changes to show fish swimming in the ocean and then inset image changes to show an aerial view of Australia’s marine estate]

 

Oceanographic research is central to both understanding our marine estate and managing our activities that depend on it or affect it.

 

[Image changes to show the spinning world globe and then an inset ocean map and a world globe appear across the spinning world globe and text headings appear: MH370, ATC Transmission Lost 01:22 MYT]

 

International incidents such as the MH370 airline tragedy highlight the need for advanced predictive forecasting and hindcasting to quickly support search strategies.

 

[Image changes to show the spinning world globe again and then new inset images appear across the spinning world globe of two ships, a coastline map and a spinning world globe and text headings appear: Defence Force, Naval Combat and Tactical Operations]

 

Marine research such as ocean forecasting assists our Defence Force naval combat and tactical operations.

 

[Image changes to show the spinning world globe again and then new inset images appear of people cleaning up on the beach and a spinning world globe and text headings appear: Environmental Disaster, Marine Industry]

 

Our coastline is huge, brimming with biodiversity which would be at significant risk during an environmental disaster such as an oil spill. To respond, Australia has strategies to minimise risk, prepare for and respond to incidents in a swift and informed manner.

 

[Inset image changes to show a predictive model map and text headings appear: Environmental Disaster, Natural Disaster response]

 

Predictive models and oceanographic monitoring assists us to predict storm surge impact of a cyclone or where a tsunami might hit.

 

[Image changes to show the spinning world globe again and then inset image appears across the globe of a piece of marine science equipment being deployed and text headings appears: Monitoring, Data Collection and Interpretation]

 

This helps us to determine which early warning and evacuation procedures to use.

 

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We use satellites, ocean buoys and computer models to monitor the ocean in near real time and predict what it will do in the future.

 

[Image changes to show the spinning world globe and then inset images appear in front of the globe of surf rolling in on the shore and a small spinning world globe and text headings appears: An Ocean Nation, Science and Solutions for Australia]

 

Our ongoing commitment to oceanographic research and technology development will ensure positive outcomes for our vast and precious marine estate now and into the future.

 

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Buy or download the Oceans book

Collaborating to tackle marine science in Australia

Oceans is authored by an expert team of marine scientists from across Australia, providing insights rich heritage of ocean research within Australia that has been central to the establishment, development and management of Australia’s marine estate.

Download the free PDF (21.5MB) Buy the printed book

Science and solutions for Australia – book series

The science of oceans

More information about our oceans research can be found on our website.

Please contact us for all other enquiries.