ocean observations

Ocean observation, analysis and prediction

Understanding and predicting variability and change in Australia’s ocean environment.

  • 4 February 2011 | Updated 14 October 2011

CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are involved in a research partnership known as The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research.

The partnership brings together expertise in Ocean Observation, Analysis and Prediction (OOAP).

Scientists with this expertise are based at Marine and Atmospheric Research (CMAR) laboratories in Hobart, Tasmania, and Floreat, Western Australia, and at the Melbourne office of the Bureau.

They develop the knowledge and tools required to monitor, understand and predict key processes that drive variability and change in the ocean environment of the Australian region.

This understanding contributes to:

  • an improved understanding of the ocean’s role in weather and climate
  • ocean and marine models and prediction systems that underpin services provided by the Bureau. 
    CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are involved in a research parnership known as The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research.

Examples of these services include the Bluelink ocean forecast system and the tsunami warning system in place at the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre.

Advanced facilities and techniques for ocean observation and analysis support research extending from tropical waters to the sea-ice boundary of the Southern Ocean. They include:

  • the Marine National Facility Research Vessel Southern Surveyor to deploy and service ocean observation equipment
  • high performance supercomputing to run computationally intensive prediction systems
  • world class laboratories and associated technical engineering services.


  • Ocean modelling: developing high resolution ocean models and parameterisations to represent mesoscale ocean processes for use in short to medium range forecasts of the ocean state, circulation and sea level.
  • Wave modelling: developing models to forecast the sea-state (wind-sea and swell) for coastal and high seas regions around Australia.
  • Tsunami modelling: developing the numerical prediction systems that underpin the issuing of tsunami warnings by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre.
  • Regional coupled (atmosphere-ocean) modelling: developing high resolution, regional ocean and coupled ocean-wave-atmosphere models, and parameterisations for short to medium range forecasting of the ocean and atmosphere.
  • Surface fluxes and atmosphere-ocean interactions (including boundary layer dynamics): developing flux products from observations to validate numerical weather prediction models, seasonal forecasting and climate applications, and understanding the role of waves in modulating the marine atmospheric boundary layer.
  • Data assimilation (especially in a coupled Earth System model environment): developing ocean data assimilation methods and software for global and regional coupled applications in short to medium range prediction systems.
  • Ocean observations and processes: creating the infrastructure and knowledge required to monitor, observe and understand key processes that drive variability and change in the ocean, and to support decision-making in climate-sensitive industries and environmental resource management.
  • Analysis of remotely sensed products, including SST and sea-surface height: production, analysis and development of satellite-derived ocean products, such as sea surface temperature, sea surface height and ocean colour.
  • Web services, data management and data servers: developing products and services in line with community data management conventions, and web and data services to support national and international research collaboration, as well as interoperability with operational oceanography centres, government, and industry communities.


  • Remote Sensing Facility
  • High performance supercomputing
  • Biosecure laboratories
  • Chemistry and molecular laboratories
  • Electronics, engineering and moorings workshop
  • Oceanographic sampling and monitoring instrumentation
  • Data Centre.

Research application

CMAR expertise in ocean observation, analysis and prediction is applied to research for the Wealth from Oceans and Climate Adaptation Flagships and underpins ocean and marine services provided by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Read more about CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.