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. Satellite Scientists Set To Descend On Hobart

Ocean Surface Topography meeting Convenor, CSIRO's Dr David Grifffin, and ocean forecasting modeller, Dr Andreas Schiller, also of CSIRO.
by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (SPX) Mar 06, 2007
Nearly 200 ocean and climate scientists will gather in Hobart this month for the first meeting in the Southern Hemisphere of the NASA/French Space Agency Ocean Surface Topography Science Team. The scientists specialise in using satellite altimeters to:

+ monitor and understand global sea level rise
+ observe and predict El Nino and related climate phenomena
+ develop short-term, high-resolution ocean current forecasts for maritime users monitor global water resources in major rivers and lakes.

Meeting Convenor, Dr David Griffin from CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship, says data from the satellites, TOPEX-Poseidon and Jason-1 (both managed jointly by NASA and the French space agency, CNES), has dramatically changed scientists' understanding of ocean dynamics. "The development and application of satellite altimeters over the past 15 years has generated many new insights into climate dynamics and ocean physics," Dr Griffin says. "By monitoring sea level variations, we can tell which way surface currents are flowing, as well as what is happening beneath the surface such as upwellings of cold water from the oceans' depths."

CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre (ACECRC) scientist, Dr John Church, will present one of the opening presentations of science results.

"The rate of global sea level rise measured by the altimeters is at the upper limit of the rate predicted by computer models developing scenarios of climate change," Dr Church says.

CSIRO, through the Wealth from Oceans Research Flagship, the Royal Australian Navy and the Bureau of Meteorology, is one of the sponsors of the meeting, which runs from March 12-15.

The most recent local applications include forecasting for bluewater ocean races such as the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race and explanation of dramatically changing water temperatures off the NSW coast.

Dr Griffin says Tasmania has many close links to the ocean surface topography science community involving scientists at institutions such as: CSIRO, the Australian Government Antarctic Division, the ACECRC, the University of Tasmania and the Bureau of Meteorology.

An additional local link is that Bass Strait is one of only three locations around the world where the accuracy of the satellite instruments is continually checked against instruments at Burnie.

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