The Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC has released a synopsis of the latest scientific findings of the changes of the salinity, temperature, acidity and circulation of the Southern Ocean.

The synopsis, titled Position Analysis: Climate Change and the Southern Ocean, is a plain‐English summary of knowledge in this research area.

The latest research shows:

  • The Southern Ocean is warming faster than the average for the global ocean.
  •  The warming extends to greater depth in the Southern Ocean than it does in low latitudesbecause of the unique ocean currents there that carry heat deep in the ocean. The large amount of heat stored in the ocean makes it expand, raising sea levels.
  •  These currents also carry large amounts of carbon dioxide into the deep ocean, slowing the rate of climate change. More than 40% of the carbon dioxide released by human activities that ends up stored in the ocean enters through the Southern Ocean.
  • The Southern Ocean is getting fresher (lower in salinity). The changes in salinity provide evidence that the global water cycle is becoming more intense, with wet areas becoming wetter and dry areas becoming drier, as expected in a warming climate.
  • Freshening is observed in the abyssal waters off Antarctica south of Tasmania, and in the intermediate depth waters that originate in the Southern Ocean.
  • New measurements show that even the deepest waters, below 4 km depth, are warming and freshening. This means that even the deepest layers of the ocean can respond to changes in surface climate very quickly.
  • The ocean is becoming more acidic, making it more difficult for a wide variety of organisms to build shells, skeletons and reefs.
  • Because the effects of ocean acidification are sensitive to temperature, the threshold will be crossed first in the cold waters of the polar regions.

The Australian Government’s Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP) has released the most comprehensive research data on the impacts of climate change on the Pacific to date.

A new fellowship has been announced by the  National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in recognition of the Australian Nobel Laureate Professor Elizabeth Blackburn.

The University of Western Australia has launched a new geochemical facility that includes two new multi-collector plasma mass spectrometers, the first of their kind in WA, which together provide unrivalled capabilities and innovative research opportunities across a wide spectrum of fields for WA scientists.

The University of Queensland is leading a new training project in advanced microscopy dubbed MyScope, which involves a consortia of six major Australian universities and the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) will launch a new postgraduate degree that helps researchers and research managers unlock the commercial potential of their work in mid-2012.

A new SKA Organisation has been formed by partners in Australia, New Zealand, China, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and South Africa to govern the Square Kilometre Array telescope and make the host site selection early in 2012.

A world class innovation to shield Defence ships and aircraft from radar surveillance has earned  Australian scientist, Dr Cheng Anderson, the 2011 Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science.

Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, Professor of Physics at the University of New South Wales, who leads the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, has been named the 2011 NSW Scientist of the Year for pioneering the development of quantum computers. She was also the Category Winner for Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy.

Victoria University has released its new Strategic Plan, setting itself the goal of becoming one of the top 20 universities in Australia for research, with an emphasis on applied and translational research.

The Victorian Government has called for input to a consultation process on its $10 million Mental Illness Research Fund.

Six successful applicants of this year’s Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) selection round (Round 14) have been announced.

CSIRO’s new Collaborative Biosecurity Research Facility (ACBRF) has been opened at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong.


The Centre, claimed to be the most advanced of its type in the world, was built with a contribution of $8.5 million in Federal funding, through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.


The ACBRF is located within AAHL’s high containment facility and incorporates a linked Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility.


AAHL has developed a significant international reputation as one of the world’s finest animal bioscience research laboratories and is the most sophisticated laboratory in the world for the safe handling and containment of infectious micro-organisms.

Researchers have developed the world’s lightest material - with a density of 0.9 mg/cc - about one hundred times lighter than Styrofoam.

In a first for regional WA, local scientists have called for expressions of interest in membership of a regional science council. They believe that a Great Southern Science Council could promote the benefits of science and technology to the region and advocate more funding for innovative research in the Great Southern.

The Federal Government has announced $18 million in joint Chinese and Australian government funding over the next three years for the dedicated Australia-China Research Fund (ACSRF) following its launch earlier this month.

A new, $1.5 million nanotechnology microscope is being used by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology to assist in the development of cheap, plastic solar cells to be used in charging mobile appliances.

A new research laboratory has been launched at Swinburne University of Technology in partnership with bioMérieux, a specialist in the field of in vitro diagnostics, which will enable researchers to identify microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, in a fraction of the time it takes most other labs. 

The University of New South Wales has entered a new partnership with international research portal the iBridge Network to promote the university’s IP to entrepreneurs around the world.

Macquarie University has announced it will adopt a new postgraduate degree structure from 2013, making it the first Australian university to fully align with European, North Americans and Asian qualifications. The decision follows a vote by the Academic Senate in favour of a new research training Masters degree consistent with the ‘Bologna model’.

University of Queensland (UQ) academics have been awarded the  ICT Research and Development prize for their face-recognition technology that improves the speed and accuracy of identifying faces for law-enforcement at the Asia-Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA) in Thailand.

The academics, working in collaboration with National ICT Australia's (NICTA) Queensland Research Laboratory and the Queensland government, created NICTA's Face Search Engine to improve face recognition in grainy, low quality video footage, potentially saving precious police time.

NICTA's Advanced Surveillance Project Leader and UQ academic, Professor Brian Lovell said the Face Search Engine is the product of five years research by a committed and dedicated team.

The Advanced Surveillance Project is the result of a collaboration between NICTA, Australia's ICT Research Centre of Excellence, and the National Security Science and Technology (NSST) Branch within the National Security and International Policy Group which resides in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The APICTA Awards is an international awards program which aims to increase ICT awareness in the community and assist in bridging the digital divide.

UQ's Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), Professor Max Lu said the technology developed by Professor Lovell and his colleagues has the potential to save police time and reduce the rate of crime not only in Australia, but throughout the world.

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