Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, will today announce the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Ocean Observing System by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville (note – read here for more detailed information).

“The Observing System will apply a ‘digital skin’ of sensors, over the Great Barrier Reef, producing the highest resolution pictures ever produced,” Senator Carr said.

“It will be the most exciting development in coastal ocean observation in Australia since the launch of Earth-orbiting satellites, providing real-time data on current conditions throughout the region.

“This will help drive multi-scale ecological and physical models, making possible more accurate forecasting and improved understanding of the process sustaining the biodiversity of the Reef.

“This great collaborative project is led by AIMS on behalf of a consortium of agencies including AIMS, James Cook University, Great Barrier Reef Island Research Stations, University of Melbourne and CSIRO. The Great Barrier Reef marine tourism industry is participating in the Observing System by including ship board sensors on some of their vessels.

“The Observing System is a regional ocean observation network covering the eastern Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef. It will give researchers and managers more comprehensive and subtle understandings of the complexities of the Reef, particularly as threats from climate change loom.

“From the kilometre to the millimetre scale, diverse forms of Reef data gathered by multiple sensors will be integrated for the first time to produce detailed models reflecting real conditions on the Reef and enabling forecasts of future conditions.

“The Observing System will have an important role in future research into and management of one of Australia’s greatest natural assets, the Great Barrier Reef,” Senator Carr said.

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