More than 50 different environmental measures routinely collected by Australia’s national ocean research vessels—including sea surface temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, and salinity—can now be accessed online almost as they are recorded.
The data is incorporated, often automatically, into predictive meteorological and ocean models, improving their accuracy. “So we end up with an improved representation not only of the weather but of processes like large scale ocean circulation or the state of the seas during tropical cyclones,” says Dr Roger Proctor, director of the e-Marine Information Infrastructure Facility of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System.
CSIRO is spearheading a $9 million-a-year project to help ease Australia’s current water management crisis.
A new national Water Resources Observation Network (WRON), set up by CSIRO through the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, is aiming to improve water management, and make a 20 per cent cost saving in the process.
DNA barcodes could help farmers and conservationists identify wanted and unwanted grasses.
Identifying grasses is difficult especially when they’re not flowering. But identification is important. Australia’s agriculture and ecology are threatened by invading grasses, such as Chilean needle grass (Nassella neesiana) and serrated tussock (N. trichotoma). And efforts to re-introduce native grasses can be hampered if you can’t tell the grasses apart.
Every visitor to Australia quickly learns that we take quarantine seriously. Our country is free of many pests, weeds and diseases that are widespread overseas. Our relative disease-freedom is good news for our people, for agriculture and for the environment.
Visitors’ luggage is screened at the airports. But what about the two million shipping containers that enter Australia each year? How do we strike a balance between open trade and quarantine?
Western Australia’s International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) is only three months old but is rapidly expanding—much like the early Universe. ICRAR’s scientists have ambitious projects ahead contributing to global science and engineering through the SKA.
CSIRO’s Dr John O’Sullivan, winner of the 2009 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, is now working on the next generation of radio telescopes.
John’s latest efforts are directed towards the development of an innovative radio camera or ‘phased array feed’ with a uniquely wide field-of-view for the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope.
Every new technology brings opportunities and threats. Nanotechnology is no exception. It has the potential to create new materials that will dramatically improve drug delivery, medical diagnostics, clean and efficient energy, computing and more. But nanoparticles could also have significant health and environmental impacts.