CEO’s message: A century of science
A century on from the start of Douglas Mawson’s epic and heroic Antarctic venture, we can see the value of Australia’s Antarctic efforts. One of the aims of his Australasian Antarctic Expedition was to try to study the links between the Antarctic and Australia – what we would now call weather and climate ‘tele-connections’. We now know just how important Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in influencing our weather, especially in Southern Australia. And, in recent years, we have been able to show that long term climate Australian trends are intimately connected to Antarctic climate.
The ACE CRC has been at the forefront of unravelling these mysteries, demonstrating, for example that rainfall in south-west Western Australia is linked to snowfall in east Antarctica.
Mawson understood that doing science in the Antarctic could directly to benefits for Australia and the Australian economy. One hundred years on we know just how important this region of the globe is, not only to Australia, but the planet as a whole. The ACE CRC recently released it Position Analysis “Climate Change and the Southern Ocean” which summarises our understanding of the role of the Southern Ocean in the global climate system and the changes we have been able to observe over that last 20 years of research endeavour.
Knowing how changes in this region will affect the world is essential in shaping global efforts to combat and respond to climate change. Antarctic science is a crucial component of the wealth of knowledge needed to make sensible judgments about our future.
Sir Douglas Mawson’s prescience about the importance of Antarctic science and his life-long efforts to ensure his vision would not be dissipated by government inaction, laid the foundation for Australia’s significant standing in global climate science. The ACE CRC is proud to be part of this heritage.