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Introducing an Integrated Marine Observing System for Australia (IMOS). Gary Meyers (IMOS Director) and John Middleton (SAIMOS). IMOS Strategic Goal. Assemble and provide free, open and timely access to streams of data that support research on The role of the oceans in the climate system

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Introducing an integrated marine observing system for australia imos
Introducing an Integrated Marine Observing System for Australia (IMOS)

Gary Meyers (IMOS Director) and John Middleton (SAIMOS)


Imos strategic goal
IMOS Strategic Goal Australia (IMOS)

  • Assemble and provide free, open and timely access to streams of data that support research on

  • The role of the oceans in the climate system

  • The interaction between major boundary currents and shelf environments and ecosystems

  • And in the longer term

  • Supports policy development, management of marine and terrestrial climate impacts and adaptation by industries

IMOS Funding: Australia (IMOS)

  • $50M cash from Commonwealth

  • Additional $40M cash and in-kind support from marine agencies around Australia

    IMOS Development:

  • National Science Plan priorities workshopped in 2006

  • Local science plans (with equipment needs) developed

  • Envelopes for equipment allocations developed

  • Agreement of who runs what facilities and what “nodes” are allocated facilities.

  • Plan strongly supported and funded by Aust. Govt. National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy

Imos 5 nodes and 11 facilities goals onshore offshore interaction climate impacts
IMOS—5 Nodes and 11 Facilities Australia (IMOS)Goals: onshore-offshore interaction, climate impacts





Water depth 110 m Australia (IMOS)

Met Station

  • National Reference Stations

  • Key components:

    • Real Time Data sent via satellite

    • 2x CTDs

    • 1x ADCP (SAIMOS, NSWIMOS only)

    • 1x Surface Meteorological Station

Communications via acoustic modem


Reference Stations Australia (IMOS)



National reference station monthly biogeochemical sampling
National Reference Station - Australia (IMOS)Monthly Biogeochemical Sampling

  • Carbon Parameters: Dissolved Inorganic Carbon, Alkalinity

    2. Hydrochemical parameters: Nitrate/nitrite, silicate,phosphate, salinity

    3. Biological parameters: Phytoplankton: pigment composition, microscopy, genetic composition, total suspended solids

    Flow cytometry (population size, physical and chemical composition)

    Zooplankton: dry Weights, community composition, genetic composition

    4. Physical/profiling instrument measurements: CTD with capabilities for:

    Temperature, Pressure (depths), Conductivity, Fluorescence, Light (PAR), Turbidity, Dissolved Oxygen

Aust coastal ocean radar network six systems wera codar
Aust. Coastal Ocean RADAR Network – six systems (WERA&CODAR)

WERA Installation

Radar is back reflected by ocean waves. The Doppler shift in Radar frequencies enables surface currents and other variables to be measured.

HF Ocean RADAR Example From South Carolina (WERA&CODAR)

Live current measurements every 30 minutes from the WERA system off South Carolina (US).

Strong North-East Velocities associated with the Gulf Stream are clearly visible

Note: range is better during day

Aust. National Facility for Ocean Gliders (WERA&CODAR)

8 gliders (Slocum and deep)

Glider Cross-Section: Temperature (WERA&CODAR)


Play Movie

Other IMOS observing systems (WERA&CODAR)

Passive acoustic listening for sea-floor slumps, Antarctic Ice

collapse and marine mammals using hydrophones

Pygmy Whale singing off Perth

AUV (hulls removed) for sea floor video and mapping

Moorings detect tagged fish < 1km (WERA&CODAR)

6 month service to obtain data

Tagged Fish: AATAMS and community receivers


Glenelg 10 moorings

Portland 31 moorings

Bluewater node
Bluewater Node: (WERA&CODAR)

Major research questions:

  • What is the role of the ocean in weather, climate variability and change?

  • What role does the ocean play in setting atmospheric carbon levels?

  • Where and how does ocean and climate variability impact on pelagic ecosystems, their productivity and fisheries?

  • How do large-scale offshore changes affect our coastal environment and ecosystems?

  • Is there predictability in the system and where? On what timescales?


  • ARGO Floats

  • Ships of Opportunity

  • Satellites

  • S.O. Mooring

Imos argo

  • 50 T/S Argo floats per year (assuming a continuation of existing contributions from AGO, CSIRO and BoM)

Implementation (WERA&CODAR)

West Australian IMOS (WERA&CODAR)

  • Leeuwin Current eddies and their interaction with the shelf waters.

  • Western Rock lobster recruitment

  • The Perth Canyon – highest biodiversity with whale and fish aggregations, high primary and secondary production which are controlled by the physical oceanographic processes

Leeuwin Current



Jurien Bay





Leeuwin UC

Southern australian imos cross shelf exchange ecosystems
Southern Australian IMOS (WERA&CODAR)- cross shelf exchange/ecosystems

  • Summer:

  • Upwelling - Deep cold, water is brought to surface

  • Mechanisms: winds

  • canyons

  • Flinders Current

  • Winter:

  • Density current outflows from gulfs and coast

Sea Surface Temperature from satellite measurements

Planned SAIMOS Infrastructure: (WERA&CODAR)

  • HF Radar

  • Shelf/Slope Moorings

  • Reference Station

  • CTD Stations

  • PLUS

  • Gliders

  • Fish tag curtains

  • AUVs

Nsw imos the eac and upwelling
NSW IMOS – The EAC and upwelling: (WERA&CODAR)

Oke & Middleton 02

Climate change (East Coast, Tasmania) … (WERA&CODAR)

Mean sea surface temperature (deg C)

Mean surface salinity (ppt)

After Hill et al. 2007

Great Barrier Reef Ocean Observing System


SEC = South Equatorial Current (WERA&CODAR)

EAC = East Australian Current



Coral Sea mooring (1)

Slope moorings (4)

Shelf mooring (1)

Oceanographic buoys (3)

Island Research Stations (4)

Reef towers (3)

HF Radar



Light & heat fluxes



Particulate carbon

Local variables (sensor networks)


Planned IMOS Coastal Deployments (WERA&CODAR)