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  • richardmitnick 12:38 pm on September 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Can engineering biology feed more people with fewer resources?", , , , , CSIRO (AU) ECOS,   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS : “Can engineering biology feed more people with fewer resources?” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    9.26.22
    Sibel Korhaliller

    A changing climate, declining arable lands and an increasing demand for more environmentally friendly products is making us think outside the box when it comes to food production and traditional agricultural production. How can we produce more food with fewer resources?

    One way this can be achieved is through what is known as engineering biology. It combines the fields of biology and engineering to create safer, more sustainable, and in time, potentially cheaper products. These include feed ingredients, agricultural chemicals and even biofuels.

    Last year we released a Synthetic Biology Roadmap that estimated products made using engineering biology could generate more than $19.2 billion for Australia’s food and agricultural industry by 2040.

    While there has been a lot of research in this space over the past two decades, commercialization opportunities are still in their infancy. But understanding what these are can help the sector prioritize their efforts in the short to medium term.

    1
    Engineering biology techniques could benefit Australia’s agriculture, aquaculture (pictured) and forestry industries over the next 10 years.

    Revolutionizing agriculture

    To feed everyone on the planet, we need to revolutionise agriculture in the next 30 years.

    Greg Williams is Associate Director for Health and Biosecurity in the CSIRO Futures team, CSIRO’s strategic consulting arm. He says engineering biology can help us address the increasing pressures that global agriculture producers face.

    “Engineering biology solutions are one way we can help keep our food systems resilient to future demand. However, we still have a lot to learn to move the science out of the lab and onto farms for real-world impact,” he says.

    Engineering biology opportunities on farm

    We recently explored eight key engineering biology opportunities for the agriculture industry as part of research funded by AgriFutures Australia, who invest in research, innovation and learning across Australian rural industries.

    “We explored both research and commercial applications of this technology globally to assess what Australia’s agriculture and aquaculture sectors could start to prepare for,” Greg says.

    “The applications range from biosensors that detect pathogens in livestock or disease in crops, to biomanufacturing sustainable proteins and additives that can be added to animal feed, to creating agricultural chemicals, such as insecticides or fertilisers.”

    One of these opportunities involves engineering biological agricultural treatments to create new crops that can fix their own nitrogen for growth. In doing so, this helps to overcome environmental challenges in conventional agricultural practices, such as the overuse of nitrogen fertilizer.

    On the Sunshine Coast, we have also supported a local company, Provectus Algae through the Australian Government’s Innovation Connections program to synthetically produce algae for several applications, including food and beverage (natural and sustainable food flavourings, fragrances and colourings), aquaculture feed, natural pesticides and also therapeutics (such as medicines).

    3
    Biofungicides are new microbial-derived tools for protecting crops such as canola.

    CSIRO researcher Louise Thatcher says a collaboration with Melbourne-based business Nufarm is helping to develop and run a pre-commercial pilot trial of a novel biofungicide to prevent sclerotina outbreaks.

    “Fungal diseases of crops cause billions of dollars of losses globally,” Louise says.

    “Part of what I do at CSIRO is to find alternative solutions to the use of synthetic agrichemicals. These chemicals contribute to increased yields but can have negative impacts on the environment.

    “We’re screening and researching a collection of beneficial microbes that could kill fungal diseases that affect crops such as canola.

    “A product from this research would be engineered to maximise effectiveness against sclerotinia whilst minimising off target effects to the environment and people.

    “We were able to successfully isolate a new biocontrol microbe that is found naturally in West Australia soils. We engineered a new biofungicide formulation and tested its application to treat sclerotinia outbreaks, with very positive results to far.”

    3
    We are evaluating biofungicides to supress sclerotinia in canola.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:
    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Radio Telescope Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (AU) Parkes Observatory [Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name], located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    CSIRO Canberra campus.

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU)CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster.

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:56 pm on August 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What will it take to bring Australia’s lost coastal ecosystems back from the brink?", , , CSIRO (AU) ECOS,   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS : “What will it take to bring Australia’s lost coastal ecosystems back from the brink?” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    8.19.22
    Molly McShane

    Australia’s coastal and marine ecosystems have suffered death from a thousand cuts. But scientists say it’s possible to bring them back from the brink – if we act now.

    1
    The Mungalla wetland, adjacent to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, have been subject to rehabilitation and restoration projects for over 10 years. Image: JCU TropWATER.

    Biodiversity loss and climate change are two tightly threaded crises, and the greatest humankind has faced. Coastal and marine ecosystem restoration has never been more urgent on a large scale, and our window of opportunity to regain what’s lost is vanishing.

    Research led by scientists at CSIRO and James Cook University TropWATER has found that despite recent advances, coastal and marine restoration in Australia is often small-scale and experimental, and not yet expansive enough to meet biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives.

    But the team also present a roadmap forward [below], showing how we can coordinate efforts to scale-up restoration and fast-track a national coastal restoration strategy.

    Involving input from more than 170 contributors, including scientists, First Nations people, government agencies and funders, A Roadmap for Coordinated Landscape-scale Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Restoration [below] is the most forward-looking restoration review in Australia to date.

    What’s the fuss – why is coastal restoration important?

    We’ve lost a devastating amount of marine and coastal ecosystems over the past 200 years. That’s wetlands, saltmarshes, seagrasses, oyster reefs and kelp beds.

    We’ve seen South Australian oyster reefs go extinct during our lifetime. The catastrophic death of 40 million mangrove trees in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 2015/2016. The disappearance of 95% of Tasmania’s giant kelp forests. And much more.

    This ecosystem loss means a loss of habitats, and a loss of species. It means we’ve lost the ability to store vast amounts of carbon, ways to treat water, protect coastlines from erosion, and critical ‘highways’ for fish to breed or seek refuge.

    Australians need coastal habitats, too, with about half of our population living on the coast. These ecosystems support our livelihoods and have high cultural significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The State of the Environment report [below] also found that ecosystem degradation is affecting our health and wellbeing.

    Elevated ecological restoration is one of the most critical activities to mitigate and adapt to climate change, according to the recent IPCC report [below], with these ‘blue carbon’ coastal ecosystems storing ten times more carbon per unit area than most terrestrial ecosystems, like rain forests.

    The decline of these ecosystems is crippling the planet, says CSIRO’s Dr Megan Saunders and lead co-author, and recovering this damage is needed at a large scale, urgently.

    “The degradation of these habitats and the added pressure from climate change can be overwhelming and may seem an unsurmountable challenge to overcome,” she said.

    “But we can also look at this challenge in another way – we know exactly what we must do.

    “Large-scale ecosystem restoration is entirely possible. But we must work together, break down barriers and maximise our efforts in this vanishing window of opportunity.”

    2
    Dr Saunders conducting marine restoration fieldwork.

    Cut to the chase – what’s holding coastal restoration back?

    Co-lead author and JCU TropWATER’s Assoc Prof Nathan Waltham said momentum was building in coastal restoration in Australia. But improvements were usually seen on a small scale and aimed at reducing damage rather than large-scale restoration efforts.

    “Despite a uptick in investment, current resources are not enough to restore all of Australia’s lost and degraded coastal and marine ecosystems,” he said.

    A major speed bump in scaling up restoration is legislative barriers. This causes unanticipated costs, challenges in gaining permits, and delays in the start date of projects. The barriers may event prevent some projects from going ahead.

    “Lack of coordination across projects and missed opportunities to co-design with diverse stakeholders is a huge challenge. It’s one of the biggest barriers stopping large-scale restoration,” he said.

    “We’re investing lots of money and time in restoration. It takes more than 10 years to start seeing outcomes from restored sites so it’s imperative restoration projects are done right from the start.”

    3
    Assoc Prof Nathan Waltham is working to restore coastal wetlands along Great Barrier Reef catchment. Image: JCU TropWATER.

    The roadmap – so how do we improve coastal restoration?

    Restoration is a complex process involving lots of stakeholders, and it can be expensive.

    While it’s clear there’s more than one challenge with marine and coastal restoration projects in Australia, it’s definitely not all doom and gloom, and there is a road forward.

    The roadmap recommends a state and local rollout of a national science-based coastal and marine restoration plan. The plan hits environmental and climate change mitigation targets in addition to providing economic recovery.

    “The urgency is real, and we can’t undersell how important it is to act with nature-based solutions,” Dr Saunders said.

    “We need a large-scale coordinated approach that co-designs projects, opens funding pipelines, and supports the development of fit-for-purpose permitting processes. The approach should actively bring in all levels of communities, Indigenous groups, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and governments.”

    Dr Saunders says the report highlights the power of communities in driving restoration goals.

    “Globally, restoration projects which have strong community involvement tend to be most successful. There is a lot of pride and knowledge in communities, in the people and their land. People drive change – and this is powerful and inspiring.”

    Following the roadmap has the potential to elevate the state, condition and function of Australia’s coastal and marine assets. It will increase our capacity to adapt to climate change and improve Australian’s social, cultural and economic wellbeing.

    “Humanity’s impact on Australia’s coastal regions is severe, and climate change is escalating the impacts,” Dr Waltham said.

    “But it is possible to restore environmental degradation if we reimagine a different future. We have to work together to achieve this.”

    State of the Environment
    A Roadmap for Coordinated Landscape-scale Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Restoration
    roadmap forward
    IPCC report

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organizations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organization as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organized into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:
    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Radio Telescope Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (AU) Parkes Observatory [Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name], located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    CSIRO Canberra campus.

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU)CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster.

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:33 pm on June 29, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hydrogen: Steps towards Australia’s powerhouse plan", , , , CSIRO (AU) ECOS   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS : “Hydrogen: Steps towards Australia’s powerhouse plan” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    June 21st, 2022
    By Westpac IQ with Dr Patrick Hartley

    CSIRO Hydrogen Industry Mission Leader Patrick Hartley outlines some of the key moves required for Australia to realise its plans to become a major hydrogen exporter.

    1
    CSIRO Hydrogen Industry Mission Lead, Dr Partrick Hartley (left) and Dr Alan Finkel.

    Hydrogen is a gas that is colourless, odourless, non-toxic and highly combustible but, most importantly, it stores energy that can be recovered without giving off carbon dioxide gas and contributing to global warming. As such, it is expected to be a key energy commodity as the world transitions from fossil to renewable energy.

    With abundant sunlight and wind to turn renewable electricity into hydrogen, and a well-established energy export sector, Australia is well-placed to become a global hydrogen powerhouse.

    But first we need to produce enough hydrogen at a competitive price and improve the technology needed to ship it around the world.

    Dr Patrick Hartley, Leader of the CSIRO Hydrogen Industry Mission, outlines the opportunities – and challenges – this new fuel source presents.

    What are the major applications for hydrogen and how will that drive demand in future?

    There are diverse applications for hydrogen across the energy and industrial sectors. They span mobility – using hydrogen as a fuel for powering vehicles – and the use of hydrogen to replace natural gas in gas networks, because it’s a clean gas that burns without emitting greenhouse gases.

    You can also use hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in industrial heat production. It is already used as an industrial feedstock for things like chemicals production, ammonia and petrochemicals production.

    Hydrogen technologies can also play an important role in electricity systems. Electricity is used to make hydrogen by splitting water in a process called electrolysis, and hydrogen fuel cells effectively reverse this process to turn hydrogen back into electricity. And so you can start thinking about how hydrogen can play a role in the transition of the electricity system to clean energy.

    We’re just getting started in many ways with the broader uses of hydrogen now. But as we diversify the uses of hydrogen through those applications just mentioned, the demand will grow. That’s a good thing, because if the demand for hydrogen grows then it will actually drive down the costs of production and make it more competitive with fossil fuels in more and more applications.

    What is – and what will – the market be worth?

    The federal government expects the future Australian hydrogen industry to directly support more than 16,000 jobs by 2050, plus an additional 13,000 jobs from the construction of related renewable energy infrastructure. Australian hydrogen production for export and domestic use could also generate more than AUD 50 billion in additional GDP by 2050.
    What are the major export opportunities?

    Moving hydrogen as an export commodity is certainly an attractive way of monetising the huge clean energy resource that we can produce in Australia. There are many countries with quite a number of approaches being adopted to designing markets and developing technologies that enable international hydrogen trade. Japan, in particular, has been doing a lot of work on what the hydrogen import-export trade could look like.

    One option is to actually put hydrogen on ships. Now, if you’re shipping things around the world, you want to cram as much of that energy into the smallest possible volume you can. That’s why you need to do something to make hydrogen economic to ship.

    One approach being looked at to densify that hydrogen is liquefaction, where you cool down the hydrogen to minus 253 degrees. It’s currently expensive, but the technology is still just getting going, so this should change.

    The other way of moving hydrogen is actually to convert it into something else that can be a carrier for it. Ammonia is one of those carriers and the nice thing about ammonia is that it’s a liquid in fairly ambient conditions. There’s always a trade-off, though. That conversion is not cheap either. And the reconversion to recover the hydrogen at the destination requires additional infrastructure.

    What are Australia’s advantages as a supplier of hydrogen?

    The reason why we’re a global powerhouse in exports of energy is because we’ve got a lot of energy resources, and that includes both fossil fuel resources like natural gas, but we’re also very lucky that we have tremendous potential to produce renewable energy, using things like solar energy and wind energy in different parts of the country.

    We also don’t have such a huge domestic population that will use all of that energy. Plus, because of the existing energy export and trade experience that we have, in many ways we have all the ingredients for being able to export that clean energy.

    What are some of the major projects underway?

    The transport of liquid hydrogen to Japan is being demonstrated in the ‘Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain’ project in Victoria.

    This is a pilot project that is producing hydrogen using the brown coal resources there, via a process called gasification, and building this infrastructure to liquefy and transport hydrogen by ship.

    In January, the Suiso Frontier sailed out of Hastings in Victoria to take the world’s first liquid hydrogen shipment from Australia to Japan.

    However, the process that’s being used to make this hydrogen produces CO2. So, if it goes to commercial scale, then the intent is for those emissions to be mitigated through the use of CO2 capture and storage resources in Victoria.

    Renewable hydrogen – also known as green hydrogen – is produced using renewable energy and has no emissions in the production and no emissions at the point of use, and so the ultimate goal is to ramp up production using this technology.

    The problem really is that the amount of renewable energy we need to produce – and the scale of hydrogen that we’re talking about for an import-export industry – is really huge. It’s so huge that a build of that scale is going to take time. So the potential to use clean, but not completely green technologies to build supply chains probably makes sense in the near term, particularly from a cost perspective.

    What are the impediments to progress?

    The key challenge at the moment is getting hydrogen produced at scale cheaply, because right now it’s still a bit more expensive than existing fossil fuel feedstocks in most applications.

    If you can increase demand through new applications for hydrogen and scale up those applications, you can drive down the costs of the technology and production down through economies of scale.

    Making improvements to things like manufacturing processes for hydrogen technologies much more efficient will also contribute to us achieving the goal that’s been stated by our government of ‘H2 Under 2’, which is hydrogen at AUD 2 a kilo.

    The production costs – not including the supply chain costs – at the moment are probably around about AUD 5, depending on who you ask. So that AUD 2 goal is achievable, but it’s a goal we’re going to have to work towards and we are focusing CSIRO’s research and development partnerships through our CSIRO Hydrogen Industry Mission to do this.

    The cost of building renewable power projects has been estimated at AUD 500 billion. How will this impact the development of a hydrogen industry?

    To replace the current energy sources in all the possible places where hydrogen could do that is a huge ask. It’s the same for electricity, actually. The scale of the build to get renewable energy into a much greater portion of the energy system is massive. And it’s going to take time.

    Will we be able to repurpose other infrastructure, such as the existing pipelines which have been built to convey natural gas?

    There are challenges associated with moving to 100 per cent hydrogen in gas pipelines. And those relate to things like the material properties of the pipeline, because hydrogen has some unique properties when it comes into contact with steel.

    It also burns differently, so things like appliances need to change. At the moment, the gas pipeline industry in Australia in particular is focused very much on getting 10 per cent hydrogen into its gas pipelines. That’s seen as a level that they can tolerate with the existing infrastructure.

    What about the need for desalination plants?

    The amount of water needed to produce hydrogen is going to be significant – but we know it can be done from experience in the mining industry. In some places, desalination will be needed, but the cost of desalination of water is actually not that huge as a fraction of the hydrogen production cost.

    What’s the cost of switching from coal in steelmaking to hydrogen?

    That’s very a big question and the technology is still pretty immature, but it can be done. We think more generically around heavy industrial uses of hydrogen. And, of course, anything to do with heavy industry is a big capital investment.

    Ultimately, as a fuel source, is hydrogen as efficient as electricity?

    It’s all about how many transitions you go through when you’re converting energy into one form or another. There are losses in producing hydrogen from renewable sources, which typically convert electricity into hydrogen. And then, if you’re using it in things like cars, you convert it back into electricity to drive the vehicles. Each one of those steps has an amount of loss associated with it.

    The key question is not around efficiency. You don’t necessarily think about efficiency when you’re driving a car. You think about how much it’s costing you and that’s a very different question to an efficiency question. Existing internal combustion engines are only about 30 per cent efficient, believe it or not.

    So, what are the key government reports or roadmaps for this sector?

    The National Hydrogen Strategy is always a good place to start.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Radio Telescope Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (AU) Parkes Observatory [Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name], located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    CSIRO Canberra campus.

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU)CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster.

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:23 am on February 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Technological innovation will drive change in Australia’s energy system", CSIRO (AU) ECOS   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS: “Technological innovation will drive change in Australia’s energy system” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    January 27th, 2022
    Ruth Dawkins

    1
    Traditionally, electricyt grids in Australia were built to transfer electricty from coal-fired power stations (like the Thomas Playford Power Station aka Playford A station at Port Augusta, South Australia) in one direction, to users. Image: SA Government, 1962.

    Our analysis from 2017 estimated it would cost Australia a trillion dollars to convert to renewables. Our current estimate is $500 billion. A large part of this is because of recent technological innovation.

    Australia’s energy system is undergoing a major transition.

    The four key components of the energy system – electricity, industry, transport and exports – are all evolving, in some cases even more rapidly than expected.

    It’s an exciting time, driven by a range of different factors that include new technologies, changing consumer preferences, and national and global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Understandably, many people have a lot of questions about what our changing energy system means for them – and Paul Graham, CSIRO’s Chief Energy Economist, is the man who can help answer them.

    Australia’s changing energy mix

    Electricity grids in Australia were built mainly to transfer electricity from large, centralised coal-fired power stations, with some assistance from gas and hydro. The transfer was essentially in one direction to end-users, and the system excelled in providing dispatchable electricity at any given time. (Dispatchability is the extent to which electricity can be supplied on demand, according to market needs.)

    But a lot of Australia’s older coal-fired generators are nearing retirement. Approximately 80 per cent of gas and coal resources will reach the end of their asset life during the 2030s and 2040s.

    Combined with a drive towards cleaner energy sources, the upcoming retirement of coal-fired generators is leading to a change in Australia’s electricity generation mix.

    In 2020, the share of our electricity generation coming from renewable sources was at 24 per cent. The Australian Government projects that share will reach 50 per cent by 2030, although South Australia and Tasmania have already surpassed that target. Australia can also be proud of the fact that it already has the highest uptake of rooftop solar in the world, with one in four homes using the technology.

    “It’s been clear for a number of years that the cost of renewables is falling and it is now the lowest cost new build technology,” says Mr Graham. “That’s not controversial – it’s the mainstream view held by the industry itself who are the primary investors. The whole system is getting ready for renewables supported by storage.”

    However, Australia’s unique geography, climate and changing energy mix present a number of technical challenges that need to be overcome to enable this change.

    Our decentralised electricity grid is very different to other countries, our demand centres (major cities) are located long distances from each other in different climate zones. As the percentage of Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) sources in the grid increases, there is a need for greater interconnection and affordable energy storage solutions.

    When researchers, governments and industry stakeholders are seeking solutions for Australia’s future energy supply, there are three key requirements that need to be addressed and they are known collectively as the energy trilemma.

    Our supply must be reliable, it must be sustainable, and it must be affordable.

    As we look to the decade ahead, an electricity system built upon these principles is possible – and CSIRO is working to solve the technical challenges that will help us get there.

    Why is energy storage so important?

    As the percentage of renewable energy in the grid increases, we need to provide stabilising solutions (also called ‘firming’) that help deal with the challenge of intermittency – fluctuating power caused by variable wind and sun.

    Firming is currently provided by coal and gas but as those assets retire we need a plan for filling in the gaps. That’s where energy storage comes in – and it’s why the Australian Government has highlighted affordable energy storage as one of five priority low emissions technologies.

    We will require a range of different but complementary energy storage capacity solutions that can meet the timescales of energy demands and maintain grid stability.

    “A lot of the storage infrastructure is already being built,” says Mr Graham. “Individual states have been moving at different speeds because they have different renewable targets, but South Australia already has their big battery. Victoria has very recently installed and activated their big battery at Moorabool just outside Geelong, and New South Wales is working on the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme. There’s already an awful lot happening in this space.”

    2
    The Tesla 100MW ‘big battery’ at the Hornsdale Wind Farm, South Australia. David Clarke/flickr (cc by-nc-nd 2.0)

    Putting a price on the energy transition

    For a long time, it was very hard to get a transparent source of regularly updated data on the future costs of electricity generation and storage, and that lack of quality data made it very hard to prove or disprove any figures that were shared.

    However, since 2018 CSIRO has collaborated with AEMO on the GenCost report – an annual process of updating generation and storage costs. GenCost places a strong emphasis on stakeholder engagement as a means of supporting the quality and relevance of outputs.

    The fourth GenCost Report (2021-22) considers the costs of storage technologies and transmission network investment that would be needed to support different energy sources. It shows that wind and solar will continue to be the cheapest sources of new electricity generation in Australia through to 2050, even taking into account the cost of storage and new network infrastructure.

    It’s a valuable piece of work, especially given how fast the sector is changing.

    “Back in 2017, our analysis estimated that it would cost Australia a trillion dollars to convert to renewables,” says Dr Graham. “The knowledge we’ve gained since then on changes in technology costs cuts that figure in half. It’s now more like $500 billion, which is a pretty good improvement in a very short space of time. And to be clear, the cost would be greater if we decided to rebuild coal.”

    2
    The annual GenCost Report consistently show that wind and solar will continue be the cheapest sources of new electricity generation in Australia, even when factoring in transmission and storage (Hallicum Hills Wind Farm image: Changyang1230)

    What does it all mean for consumers?

    One serious concern that many people hold about Australia’s changing energy system is that it will impose a financial burden on households.

    The cost of transitioning the sector is one thing; the numbers we can expect to see on our future electricity bills is another thing entirely. With dozens of different figures thrown around in the media – many of them high – it can be hard to get a sense of where the truth lies.

    But according to Mr Graham, there is little cause for concern.

    “In the last couple of years, we have seen electricity bills that are higher than normal, especially around 2019,” he says. “But that was actually to do with outages and higher gas prices. It was more about our existing structure than our future one. What we think will happen now is that retail prices will settle and stay fairly low. If anything, renewables tend to suppress electricity prices because they’re not influenced by fuel prices or global markets in the same way that fossil fuels are.”

    The recent Energy Vision Report published by Transgrid in partnership with CSIRO, ClimateWorks Australia and The Brattle Group, supports this position, stating that “The decarbonisation of the Australian economy can deliver lower energy expenditure for residential consumers.”

    The message then, is a clear one.

    Decarbonising the energy sector is essential for Australia to achieve its emissions reduction targets, and there is already a range of mature low-emission technology options available.

    The focus now is how to integrate these into our electricity systems in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible, ensuring that Australia has a future energy supply that is sustainable, reliable and affordable. According to Mr Graham, the future looks positive.

    “In the electricity sector we’re now in an extremely fortunate position in that the technologies we need to decarbonise electricity supply, in the last few years, have emerged to be the cheapest technologies available to deploy. We’ve been very pleased to have a small part in identifying that trend.”

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    .

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array

    .

     
  • richardmitnick 9:04 am on February 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Driving down Australia’s energy sector emissions", CSIRO (AU) ECOS, Electricity generation is the biggest contributor to our national greenhouse gas emissions and it's undergoing a rapid transition.   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS: “Driving down Australia’s energy sector emissions” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    January 24th, 2022
    Ruth Dawkins

    Electricity generation is the biggest contributor to our national greenhouse gas emissions and it’s undergoing a rapid transition.

    Last year the Australian government announced its plan to reach a net zero target by 2050. Driving down Australia’s energy sector emissions is challenging because it’s made up of many different industries. We explain what’s going on behind the scenes in different parts of the energy sector, as the country works towards a net zero future.

    Australia’s energy sector and its emissions

    When you think about the energy sector in Australia, what comes to mind?

    Perhaps it’s a coal-fired power plant, with spirals of steam rising from the chimneys. Perhaps it’s a row of windmills on the horizon, or solar panels stretching out in the desert, as far as the eye can see.

    There’s no wrong answer. But what many of us don’t consider is that the energy sector isn’t just about electricity generation. Instead, it’s a large, multi-faceted system, with many interconnected, and rapidly changing parts.

    Electricity generation is the most easily understood part of the energy system. It’s also the biggest contributor to our national greenhouse gas emissions – currently accounting for about a third of our emissions – although that share has declined in the last decade.

    However, the energy sector also comprises a number of other important components, each of which also contributes to Australia’s total emissions. They include: transport (18 per cent), fugitive emissions (9 per cent), and direct combustion of fuels for industry and manufacturing (20 per cent), according to the most recent National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update.

    As Australia moves away from fossil fuel-based energy dependence – a move driven by emissions reduction targets, innovation, aging coal-fire power stations, consumer preferences, and the industry’s desire to reduce costs – the sector is undergoing a rapid transition. It’s an exciting time, and there is potential for gains to be made across the system through a combination of new and emerging technologies and efficiency measures.

    CSIRO has a crucial role to play in providing actionable, reliable energy research that supports this transition and meets the challenges of Australia’s net zero emissions target.

    “The last decade has been an impressive period of change,” says Paul Graham, Chief Economist at CSIRO’s Energy Business Unit. “Deployment of renewables in large scale and in our homes has become the norm. We now need to do our part in delivering the next decade of innovation which builds on the successes in the electricity sector to broaden out emissions abatement opportunities in the remainder of the energy sector.”

    1
    As Australia moves away from fossil fuel-based energy dependence the sector is undergoing a rapid transition.

    Working towards net zero emissions

    Since the Paris Climate Accords were signed in 2015, businesses, communities, and all levels of government have been setting emissions reductions goals. Australia currently has a national emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050.

    In order to achieve this target at lowest cost, Australia must to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the energy transition and become a leader in low emissions technology. This would also allow our existing industries to maintain or improve our competitiveness in the global marketplace.

    A number of key Australian industries are both emissions-intensive and heavily focused on exports. According to Mr Graham, that combination means there’s already buy-in within the sector about the need to transition.

    “In some ways, the domestic policy environment matters less than the climate policies of overseas clients. Countries such as Japan and China are key markets for our energy intensive goods and as they look to green their supply chain, they will need Australia to contribute to that. For example, if a car manufacturer wants to make a claim about their car being a green product, that comes all the way back to the emission intensity of the raw materials that we are exporting.”

    “There may be some things we need to do in the energy sector that initially cost a bit more in order to hit our emissions reduction targets,” continues Mr Graham. “But that’s essential if we want to participate in green global supply chains. Decarbonization is happening around the world and if we’re not a part of that there are others who will take our share of the market.”

    A technology-driven approach

    Australia has chosen to take a technology-led approach to the energy transition, and CSIRO is supporting that through the assessment, development and demonstration of priority low emissions technology.

    The robust, evidence-based research outcomes that CSIRO provides can then be used for informed decision making by governments, industry, investors and communities.

    There is no single, silver bullet technology that will achieve the coming energy transition. Rather, it will require a combination of existing and emerging technologies which will change over time in response to market demand, scientific advancement, and the policy or regulatory environment.

    A key guiding document is the Government’s Low Emissions Technology Roadmap and accompanying annual Low Emissions Technology Statement (LETS), which is aimed at cutting power costs for households and business, creating jobs, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. CSIRO does work across the five LETS priorities, as well as research into the productivity, social and environmental impacts of onshore gas.

    2
    Electricity storage is a key to expanding low emissions electricity. (The Tesla 100MW ‘big battery’ at the Hornsdale Wind Farm, South Australia. David Clarke/flickr (cc by-nc-nd 2.0))

    Within the energy sector, electricity generation is where low emission technology is most advanced. It makes sense to leverage the existing success in this space – partly because it will enable the most rapid gains, and partly because it’s where the highest percentage of emissions come from.

    “Abatement through electrification is low cost, so we should start by electrifying what we can,” says Mr Graham. “Using electricity in more industries, such as transport, will reduce our exposure to global markets and fossil fuel prices. One of the major keys to the expanding low emission electricity use though is affordable electricity storage. Minimising storage costs will be good for consumers and it will also be good for our global competitiveness. Australian industries want to be selling low-emissions products and we can support their efforts by providing them with the lowest cost electricity.”

    Meeting the challenges of the transition

    In order to capitalise on Australia’s natural advantages, while simultaneously driving down greenhouse gas emissions, it’s essential that we close the technology gap. It’s not just a question of developing the tools that will help us meet net zero. It’s also about making those tools demonstrable, cost-effective and adopted at an unprecedented scale.

    In order to achieve that, we require an integrated approach across government, industries and communities – and CSIRO’s multidisciplinary research can help make that happen.

    Electricity storage is just one example of a technology where gains can be made through better integration and collaboration.

    “There are several key ways we can get storage costs down,” says Mr Graham. “The first is going to be better integration between the electricity sector and the transport sector. If we electrify our transport fleet, that’s going to mean a lot of under-utilised batteries. Many people will have up to 80 per cent of their vehicle’s battery unused every day and that’s a huge resource the electricity sector could take advantage of if there were vehicle-to-grid capabilities. You could potentially halve the number of large-scale batteries required by better linking and integration of the two sectors.”

    4
    Electrifying our transport fleet will result in a lot of under-utilised batteries, which also means great storage opportunities. ©Future Battery Industries CRC.

    Hydrogen is another growth area where there’s a clear need for joined-up thinking. Hydrogen is important in and of itself as a low-emissions export industry, but the hydrogen production process will also lead to a huge demand for electricity. The flexibility of hydrogen electrolysers means that if they are grid-connected, hydrogen production can closely track renewable production, turning down or up where necessary and reducing storage requirements.

    CSIRO researchers are also looking into long-duration storage alternatives to batteries and pumped hydro.

    “Pumped hydro is good for eight hours up to several days but obviously it can’t be deployed everywhere,” says Mr Graham. “It needs bodies of water and a degree of elevation, so for other environments we’re looking to understand more about other resources such as end-of-life mines. There are many options to explore, all with a view to bringing down the costs for individuals and industry and bringing down our emissions to hit those important targets.”

    See the full article here
    .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    .

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array

    .

     
  • richardmitnick 9:05 pm on February 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Calculating the costs of net zero emissions", "Exploring climate risk in Australia", , , CSIRO (AU) ECOS,   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS: “Calculating the costs of net zero emissions” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    February 21st, 2022
    Ruth Dawkins

    A new CSIRO report Exploring climate risk in Australia asks what the financial implications might be if we delay the transition to net zero emissions.

    1
    CSIRO study is a first step towards quantifying the exposure of the Australian economy to climate-related risk.

    The term ‘net zero emissions’ has been everywhere in recent months. It’s been the focus of debate and discussion across radio, TV, newspapers and social media.

    It’s the term used to describe the point where the amount of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere is equally balanced with the gas being removed from the atmosphere.

    It’s also a necessity if we are to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees. 195 countries agreed upon this target as part of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords.

    Governments, businesses and communities around the world are increasing their efforts to reach net zero emissions. Here in Australia, every state and territory has set an ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. And CSIRO’s ambitious Climate Resilient Enterprises initiative is helping Australian Industry prepare for a changing climate.

    Meeting the challenge of net zero will require a range of technological solutions delivered at unprecedented speed and scale. This means many people are questioning how to make that that transition to a low-carbon economy without sacrificing economic growth.

    But a recent CSIRO report Exploring Climate Risk in Australia[above] approaches the issue from a different angle. It asks, instead, what the financial implications might be if we delay the transition to net zero emissions.

    Dr Stuart Whitten is a Senior Principal Research Economist with CSIRO Land and Water. He is also project leader for the recent report.

    “Our intention was to identify the transition risks as our economy decarbonises,” said Dr Whitten.

    “There are going to be sectors exposed to risk under any decarbonisation pathway. But this is particularly so if we delay now and then need to undergo a more rapid transition later. The report is an important first step in identifying those risks.”

    In Australia, every state and territory has set an ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.

    Exploring different scenarios

    Central banks and supervisors recognise the significant risks that climate change presents to the global economy. Those risks may be complex and uncertain in scale, geographic scope and timing but they are nonetheless very real.

    To build a better understanding of the risks of climate change – including how they are influenced by drivers such as policy settings, financial markets, demographic and economic growth and atmospheric emissions – researchers use scenario analysis tools to test potential impacts.

    Decision makers across government and industry can then use the resulting long-term projections. The projections are also used by investors looking to identify where to conduct further analysis or engagement, and industries seeking an understanding of risks to their sectors.

    In 2021, the Network for Greening the Financial System released a set of six climate-related scenarios. Scientists use these scenarios as a common starting place to examine risks.

    In the recent work led by Dr Whitten and his team in collaboration with KPMG and Energetics, two of those scenarios were contextualised to Australia.

    The two scenarios were:

    Current Policies, which considers the outcomes that may result from a business-as-usual approach, and
    Delayed Transition, which considers the outcomes of delaying the start of the transition to a low carbon economy until 2030.

    The research focused particularly on transition risk. This is the potential deterioration in profits and economic development as a result of policy, technological, or social change.

    Net zero and the Australian context

    We know we face a number of unique challenges when it comes to emissions reduction in Australia.

    Our climate, geography, emissions-intensive industries and decentralised electricity grid all need to be given due consideration. We are also exposed to regulatory risk from outside our borders, due to the interconnected nature of global markets.

    However, we also benefit from a number of distinctly Australian advantages, including unmatched renewable energy and mineral resources, strong research institutions, and well-developed skills in low emissions technologies.

    It’s vital that we find ways to capitalise on those advantages, because a significant economic contribution is made by Australian industries exposed to climate-related impacts.

    The agricultural sector is highly exposed to climatic shifts. Adaptation will be essential to maintain ongoing productivity in the sector. Other sectors such as mining and offshore gas are often located in areas exposed to physical hazards, while fossil fuel extraction industries are vulnerable to shifts in demand from global trading partners.

    CSIRO’s ‘Exploring Climate Risk in Australia‘ study is a first step towards quantifying the exposure of the Australian economy to climate-related risk and highlighting some of the challenges of assessing this exposure.

    2
    Australian has many unique advantages, including unmatched renewable energy and mineral resources. Image: David Clarke/Flickr.

    What did the net zero report find?

    A lot of the public debate around net zero emissions has focused on changes to Australia’s electricity system. This includes the challenges in existing fossil fuel electricity generation. But according to Dr Whitten, these challenges have less future influence on our net zero trajectory than many people think.

    “The modelling revealed that in Australia we are not as exposed as we might have thought in some areas. In the electricity sector, for example, we already have a strong transition plan.”

    “But we are definitely exposed in mining and other emissions-heavy industries like mineral processing. We don’t have a counterfactual of a smooth transition. But in general we can say that a faster transition will be a harder one for those fossil fuel intensive industries.”

    As the transition to a low carbon economy accelerates, emissions intensive sectors will decline, while we will see growth in renewables, electrification and alternatives. CSIRO’s analysis demonstrates the elevated risks to emissions intensive industries – particularly coal and to a lesser extent gas.

    The analysis also illustrates that impacts will vary across Australia and that some states are more exposed than others. Sectoral impacts of rapid decarbonisation in the coal industry particularly impact Queensland. Whereas overall economic impacts on household income and consumption are highest relative to current levels in NSW and Victoria.

    This variability in sectorial and overall economic impact illustrates the need to differentiate between sectoral risk to business and more general changes in risk to household finances.

    The report reveals a number of other findings that are likely to prove useful to stakeholders and key decision makers. They include:

    Under the ‘Delayed Transition’ scenario, rapid decarbonisation delivers lower gross state product (the measure of value adding that occurs in an economy) than under a ‘Current Policies’ scenario in all states except the ACT. This means that production and income will be lower than under a ‘Current Policies’ scenario.
    A ‘Delayed Transition’ will likely require a high reliance on negative emissions technologies like direct air capture using ‘artificial trees’ or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). The analysis notes not to underestimate the challenges of deploying, scaling and commercialising these technologies.
    A reliance on offsets (such as sequestering carbon in vegetation) could delay the transition to a low carbon economy if they are deployed in preference to decarbonisation and structural abatement.

    “We’re pleased that this work adds to the growing range of evidence as we adjust and adapt to the need to decarbonise,” says Dr Whitten.

    “It’s an important first step in identifying which industries have a greater opportunity or exposure to climate-related risk if the transition to a low carbon economy is delayed. But we also see it as a call to action. A lot more work now needs to be done.”

    What comes next?

    Australia’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 provides a clear economic signal for decarbonisation. However, the current 2030 target of 26-28% reduction on 2005 emissions would leave significant decarbonisation required in the latter two decades. As the modelling has shown, that rapid transition leaves some sectors and states exposed to increased risk.

    Dr Whitten believes there are three areas that are worthy of particular focus, in terms of smoothing that transition, and further characterising the risks ahead for Australia.

    “The first point to make is that in this report we didn’t put a lot of focus on the physical risks of climate change,” says Dr Whitten. “Things like extreme weather events or changing climate conditions. We undersell those because they are difficult to predict and will intensify beyond the model period, and as it’s clear they will have ‘negative’ economic consequences that’s definitely an area that requires further research.”

    “The second point is that there needs to be more awareness of how different risks interact with each other, especially when we’re looking at our connections with the rest of the world.”

    “And third, I think it’s worth highlighting the range of decarbonisation options already available across the economy. For example, increased electrification across the economy drawing on growth in renewables. Or reducing agricultural emissions through a range of crop and livestock practices. As more and more of these emerging technologies mature and are adopted by different sectors across our economy they will catalyse an even greater range of new opportunities that can make a material impact on emissions reduction. ”

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    .

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array

    .

     
  • richardmitnick 2:42 pm on February 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Worldwide trawling impact revealed", , CSIRO (AU) ECOS, ,   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS: “Worldwide trawling impact revealed” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    February 21st, 2022
    Annabel Boyer

    Hidden beneath the waves, the impact of bottom trawling is often talked about but rarely properly understood. A recent CSIRO-led study has quantified that impact on a worldwide scale.

    1
    In Australia the most intensively trawled areas are in southern Queensland, including the southern Great Barrier Reef, and into northern New South Wales, where there is prawn trawl fishing.

    Trawling is a contentious form of fishing, often surrounded by a highly charged debate.

    CSIRO has led a recent study [PNAS] into trawling around the world. The study assessed the status of seabed communities for 24 large marine regions where trawling occurs. It found that when trawling is managed sustainably its impact on the life of the seabed floor is also low.

    This study is the product of an international research collaboration called the Trawl Best Practice (TBP) project. The TBP project has been working since 2012. It’s aim is to generate scientific information to understand and effectively manage the environmental impact of trawling.

    University of Washington fisheries scientist Professor Ray Hilborn is one of the project co-leaders.

    “This paper addresses the fundamental question of the consequence of trawling on the seabed in different regions, by synthesising the trawl footprints with impact and recovery rates,” he said.

    What is trawling?

    Trawling is basically a type of fishing that involves pulling a net through the water behind one or more boats. The exact method and gear may vary.

    The study looked specifically at the impact of different types of bottom trawling, in which parts of the gear make contact with the seabed.

    Dr Roland Pitcher from CSIRO is the lead author of the paper. He said that the study set out to understand the relationship between the distribution and intensity of trawling and the status of the ecological communities that live in and on the seabed. The paper builds on previous work done through the TBP.

    “The first phase of the project was to gather detailed spatial mapping data for trawling effort and calculate trawling footprints for the different regions,” he said.

    “The second phase was to collate and analyse all available published studies of the impacts of trawling on benthic (seabed) communities that live on or in the sediments, as well as studies of recovery.”

    Assigning an impact status to trawled areas

    Bringing these metrics together, the study generated a relative benthic status (RBS) for each marine region assessed.

    The RBS indicates how different the collection of plants and animals on the seafloor is to what it would be if there had been no trawling. It uses a scale between 1 and 0. A status of 1 indicates no change or impact and 0 indicates full modification of the pre-trawling ecological communities.

    Dr Pitcher said that a low status indicates a disturbance rather than a lack of life. So while the most sensitive organisms may have disappeared due to intensive trawling, more robust ones may have persisted or even increased in number.

    “Lower status of a region’s seabed could occur in a few different ways,” he explained.

    “Either more area of seabed was trawled or the intensity of trawling was high. In regions with the lowest seabed status, both occurred.”

    Of the 24 regions, 15 had an RBS of over 0.9, indicating a lower level of overall impact. However, 1.5% of the total area studied had a status of 0. The study also identified a number of regions with large areas that have been so intensively trawled as to have their character totally changed. These included the Adriatic Sea and a number of other regions in Europe.

    Five Australian regions were included in the study, which comprised a total area of 2.62 million km^2. Over 2.2 million km^2 had a status of 1, about 24,000 km^2 had a status less than 0.8, and less than 1,000 km^2 was assessed as 0.

    “The most intensively trawled areas in Australia are in southern Queensland, including the southern Great Barrier Reef, and into northern New South Wales, where there is prawn trawl fishing, as well as parts of south-eastern Australia where there is fish trawling.”

    3
    Newly published worldwide trawling research indicated how different the seafloor ecosystem would be if there had been no trawling. A relative benthic status (RBS) of 1 indicates no change, and 0 indicates full modification of the seabed community. Source: Pitcher et al. PNAS (2022)[above].

    A case for effective fisheries management

    Typically trawling is managed by fisheries managers in consultation with the fishing industry and the community. Fisheries managers juggle economic, social, political and environmental factors. But a key function of fisheries management is to ensure the population health of the fish species being targeted.

    The study was able to establish a clear relationship between effective fisheries management and the impact of trawling. It found that where trawling is effectively managed for the sustainability of fish stocks, the seabed RBS will also be high.

    “Across a variety of target species types and habitats the study indicated that if fisheries management was effectively implemented, then the rest of the environment would also benefit,” Dr Pitcher said.

    4
    Researchers say there is more work to do to understand where sensitive habitats occur. This would help ensure they are not being inappropriately trawled. Source: Seabed image taken from R/V Investigator for Seamount coral survey.

    Way forward to research trawling on data poor areas

    The 24 large marine regions assessed include Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe, North America and South America. The study sought to go as wide as possible. However, a lack of data meant that some of the world’s most highly trawled areas were not included.

    “We did not set out to exclude any countries. But for many, detailed data about trawling simply doesn’t exist, or was unavailable,” Dr Pitcher said.

    However, having established a relationship between a region’s total amount of trawling activity and the condition of the seabed, the study has enabled a means to estimate the impact of trawling where there is a low level of data.

    Professor Hilborn said the TBP group has a future global study in its sights, which would build on the results and relationships already established. The study would include deep ocean areas where trawling occurs, and areas of sensitive habitat.

    The recent study used a global database of seabed sediment types, maintained at the University of Colorado. This database indicates that most areas where trawling occurs are mud, gravel or sand. However, on a world-wide scale there is a lack of data on the distribution of relatively rare but sensitive environments. These environments include deep-water coral reefs and cold-water sponge habitats. Dr Pitcher says mapping these areas should be a priority for future research.

    “What is left to do, is to find out where these sensitive habitats occur and to ensure they are not being inappropriately trawled. This paper was not able to delve into that level of detail,” Dr Pitcher said.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    .

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array

    .

     
  • richardmitnick 2:07 pm on February 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New science discovers coral seed banks", , CSIRO (AU) ECOS, , ,   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS: “New science discovers coral seed banks” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    February 21st, 2022
    Bron Willis

    CSIRO scientists have found that corals store dormant ‘seed banks’ like forests do. This unexpected finding shows reefs can recover in surprising ways.

    1
    The diverse assemblage of Acropora corals at Lighthouse Reef, Palau where CSIRO, UQ and PICRC researchers observed rapid coral recovery following the release of a dormant coral ‘seed banks’ after a super typhoon in 2012. Image: Mark Priest.

    When CSIRO marine ecologist Dr Christopher Doropoulos stepped out of his office and onto the boat during his seven-year study of the reefs off the Micronesian island of Palau, the first thing to hit his senses was the evidence of flourishing ocean life.

    “We’d see fish jumping out of the clear water as our boat zigzagged through the maze of the reef. It was full of life. The corals were so diverse – in size, structure and colour,” shared Doropoulos.

    But elsewhere on the reef, the scene was not quite so idyllic.

    In December 2012 a super typhoon occurred in the oceans around Palau that could have spelt long-term devastation.

    “It was equivalent to a category-five cyclone in Australia, which hadn’t occurred in Palau for roughly 70 years. It removed all the living coral cover from the eastern reefs,” said Doropoulos.

    “The contrast between that reef and other intact reefs was so striking. A lot of the reef’s complexity was gone. As well as the structure and the colour.”

    Over the next seven years, Doropoulos, together with research co-lead Dr George Roff and team members from The University of Queensland and Palau International Coral Reef Center, were surprised to see the reef recover at a rate never seen before.

    Rapid reef recovery

    “The reef’s recovery was initially slow. We recorded no new coral recruitment in the first four years. But then it began to recover in such a rapid way that we didn’t understand what was going on,” said Doropoulos.

    “Reefs are traditionally understood to recover following major disturbances after coral spawning events, when millions of coral larvae find their way onto those impacted reefs from nearby intact reefs.”

    Synchronous coral spawning events offer awe and inspiration to many a coral scientist. They are a key mechanism by which coral reef recovery occurs.

    2
    Russ Babcock filling tubs with seawater at Coral Bay jetty, North-Western Australia, to place reproductive coral colonies inside following a coral spawning event. Image: Dr Christopher Doropoulos.

    The process includes mass synchronous spawning of eggs and sperm into the water column. Coral larvae is dispersed for up to hundreds of kilometres via ocean currents. Swimming coral larvae settle onto the reef. Growth of microscopic coral recruits happen until they are big enough to survive long-term.

    It didn’t take the team long to surmise that the rapid recovery they were recording wasn’t from the delivery of new coral larvae following the disturbance event.

    “That’s not what was happening here,” said Doropoulos. “We had to reassess what was happening – it took a lot of discussions that challenged our thinking about what we thought we knew.”

    In searching the reefs for the source of this surprising recovery, the team turned their attentions to the new recruits that appeared from unseen nooks and crannies in the coral framework. Like dormant seeds, these hidden coral recruits had stayed dormant until the super-typhoon removed the adult corals. It was then they were ready to spring into action.

    Secrets in the coral seed banks

    “We’ve known about dormancy in seed banks in plants for a long time. This is when plants release a mass of seeds that can sit in the soil for decades, waiting for the right conditions to germinate. It happens in seagrass too. But this is the first time we’ve seen or conceptualised it in coral,” said Dr Doropoulos.

    The germination of seed banks in forests are triggered by environmental cues such as bushfire. For corals, those environmental cues include variations in light and water flow, and relaxation of competition from species such as algae and adult corals.

    “This is a now-known mechanism by which reefs recover from disturbances,” he added.

    Is reef recovery more complex than we thought?

    This research [esa] combines with other new research [esa] led by Doropoulos. It indicates that reef recovery is less predictable than previously thought.

    Doropoulos and his colleagues’ did a two-year study in Northwest Western Australia. They set out to diagnose why degraded reefs in the UNESCO Ningaloo Marine Park and neighbouring Exmouth Gulf were not recovering from a mass bleaching event and two cyclones that occurred 2011 and 2012.

    “We need to understand the dynamics of a system before we actively try to restore reefs,” said Doropoulos . “We need to ask firstly, ‘what’s the natural potential for reefs to recover?’ and secondly, ‘what are the factors limiting that recovery?’”

    2
    Christopher Doropoulos mapping and monitoring the growth and survival of juvenile corals in the Exmouth Gulf and Ningaloo Marine Park. Image: Kinam Salee.

    Dr Doropoulos’ findings in Western Australia challenged many of his assumptions. This included his expectation that coral cultured from clear-water conditions would die in marginal reefs with turbid, warmer water.

    “That’s not what we found at all,” he said. “Instead, we found we can produce coral in benign conditions that do really well in more marginal, turbid reefs.”

    Other major factors affecting coral recovery included competition with algae and smothering of new coral recruits by sediment.

    All in the one study

    The research is among the first to combine such a variety of elements in one study. It assessed limitations to coral recovery across environmental gradients including laboratory experiments, culturing of larvae and deployment to reefs spanning 150 kilometres, field monitoring, remote sensing, and larval dispersal modelling.

    The team collected and cultured coral larvae onto tiles made of a mix of carbonate sand and cement, and measuring 10 x 10 cms. These were settled in different environmental settings within the reef, then mapped and monitored over an 18-month period.

    “We saw coral in this area grow from 3mm to 150mm in the space of four years in marginal conditions. This was pretty exciting,” said Doropoulos.

    “These findings will help inform conservation and management strategies for agencies during the establishment of a new marine park in the Exmouth Gulf.”

    4
    Cuttlefish are among the many animals that find shelter and food in the reefs of Northwest Western Australia. Image: Melanie Orr.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    .

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array

    .

     
  • richardmitnick 8:59 pm on June 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Coral finds in the unknown-welcome to the ocean benthic zone", , , CSIRO (AU) ECOS, CSIRO scientists are finding life in Australia’s cold-water ocean depths that few humans ever see., ,   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS : “Coral finds in the unknown-welcome to the ocean benthic zone” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    June 15th, 2021 [Just now in social media.]
    Tim Connell

    CSIRO scientists are finding life in Australia’s cold-water ocean depths that few humans ever see.

    Type Aurogrogia tasmaniensis – a new species of soft coral found off Tasmania – into a search engine and you are unlikely to yield many results.

    But for CSIRO’s researchers from our Oceans and Atmosphere team in Hobart, discovering this species embodies the possibilities of science to illuminate life in the deep-sea.

    1
    The dark pockets of the ocean seabed: Solenosmilia variabilis (insert) is the foundation reef-forming species that supports a host of taxa found on Tasmania’s seamounts.

    The Biodiversity, Imagery, Annotation and Automation (BIAA) team research the benthic zone, the region at the bottom of the sea and the life it supports. While much of their work relies on imagery from cameras that can be “flown” above the sea floor by pilots onboard a ship and withstand crushing amounts of water pressure, it is grounded in taxonomy, the oldest discipline in biology.

    The importance of deep sea imagery

    CSIRO surveys launched from Hobart, many with researchers from museums, government and other institutions onboard, have been finding new species for decades.

    “Imagery makes it possible to capture species seldom collected because they are rare or prone to damage by physical sampling,” Candice Untiedt from CSIRO’s BIAA team, said.

    “For instance, after Aurogrogia tasmaniensis coral was observed in images, and compared with samples collected in the region, the images and specimens were used by CSIRO taxonomist Dr Phil Alderslade and colleagues in the USA and Brazil to describe the species.”

    The coral is endemic to the region around Tasmania’s seamounts and the prized type specimens, on which the species is based, are lodged at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart.

    “Our research has significantly increased our understanding of octocorals, which are commonly called soft corals,” Untiedt said.

    “Through our foundational taxonomic work over the last 30 years, we have increased the known number of octocorals around Australia from 160 to over 700 species, most of which are new to science and found from shallow shelf to deep abyssal depths.

    How are new species discovered?

    In late 2018, far from the tropics most Australians envision when they think of coral, CSIRO researchers aboard the R/V Investigator took part in a survey of submerged mountains off Tasmania.

    The expedition with Parks Australia and the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program Marine Biodiversity Hub traversed Tasmania’s seamounts, which include extinct volcanoes. Using a sophisticated underwater camera system developed by CSIRO, researchers collected video and images of more than 250km of seabed. More than 70,000 images captured information from the seabed, revealing rich benthic communities of marine invertebrates. It was a fresh and refined look at the region’s habitats and diversity, 10 years after the first extensive survey.

    1
    CSIRO’s Candice Untiedt with a large collection of gold corals, Chrysogorgia, from Andy’s Hill seamount, Tasmania.

    “Analysis of the imagery found many cold-water coral reefs, forming large structures commonly 950m to 1,350m below the surface,” Franzis Althaus, a benthic ecologist, explained.

    “The reefs were made up of single species, Solenosmilia variabilis, which support a wide variety of soft corals, sponges, echinoderms and other invertebrates. They are defined as Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems.”

    The seamounts have been impacted by deep-sea bottom trawl fishery. Some of the seamounts are still open to fishing but most have been protected for 10 years and are enclosed in offshore marine parks.

    Importantly, Australian Marine Parks off southern Tasmania, especially the Huon Marine Park, protect a large fraction of the total regional pool of seamounts, including many with light or no signs of impact.

    “Using Image data gives us insights into these areas. Collecting visual samples from the field enables us to quantify and map habitats, invertebrate and fish communities,” Althaus said.

    “By collecting, annotating and archiving images, we have the opportunity to build up a record over time that can be pulled up and compared to imagery in the future.

    “This is invaluable for monitoring changes in the environment and changes due to, for example, climate change. It will also assist with ongoing management.”

    4
    Deep sea delights: this coral species, Victorgorgia eminens, and its snake star symbiont, were discovered living in the seamounts off the coast of Tasmania.

    The role of taxonomy

    As scientists rely more on imagery-based underwater surveys, species can be identified more accurately by targeting and co-locating the collection of specimens for taxonomic analysis.

    Taxonomic information is crucial for ecologists to understand and manage ecosystems. Science has been classifying living species for more than 250 years, but an estimated 91 per cent of marine species remain undescribed.

    “Specimens are sent to national museums where expert taxonomists identify existing species or describe new ones,” Kylie Maguire from the BIAA team said.

    “Identifying species hinges on taxonomists, museums and their rigour as a bedrock of knowledge of deep-sea biodiversity and the distribution of species around Australia.

    “It demonstrates the importance of taxonomy as a foundation for monitoring changes in response to climate change and physical disturbance from human-induced impacts.”

    In other words, for Australians to understand and conserve the deep-sea riches they only see in pictures, they first need to know what is there.

    6
    CSIRO’s towed camera system enable scientists to record images and video from areas of the ocean that are difficult to access. The camera can venture to depths of up to 4000 m.

    Mighty machine learning

    The BIAA team is increasingly tackling the mammoth task of data processing beyond the ability of any human using machine learning. This makes data analysis quicker and more efficient. The key is to train the machine learning tools correctly. So far, the results are encouraging.

    “We recently repurposed a dataset for a machine learning exercise to detect coral reef substrate, a proxy for Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem habitat,” Maguire said.

    “We are very happy with the results and are now looking into object detection for selected deep-sea species.”

    As machines shoulder more of the load of detecting Australia’s underwater species, CSIRO’s BIAA researchers are determined to keep expanding what is known of the deep-sea void.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU), is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:04 am on May 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What does the next decade hold for our oceans?", , CSIRO (AU) ECOS, , In Australia 85 per cent of our population lives in coastal regions., , Oceans are the planet’s largest life-support system., Our oceans stabilise climate; store carbon; produce oxygen; nurture biodiversity; directly support human well-being through food; mineral; and energy resources; provide cultural and recreation., Roughly 40 per cent of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometres of the coast., UN "Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development"   

    FromCSIRO (AU) ECOS : “What does the next decade hold for our oceans?” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    May 31st, 2021
    Karen Evans

    1
    Australia has an active role in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

    Oceans are the planet’s largest life-support system. The launch of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is an important opportunity for Australia as a nation girt by sea.

    This year marks the start of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the delivery of the second World Ocean Assessment by the United Nations.

    The two initiatives are intricately linked as it was the findings of the first World Ocean Assessment that provided the impetus for the United Nations, through the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, to propose that a decade of ocean science was needed.

    Why a decade of ocean science?

    Our oceans stabilise climate; store carbon; produce oxygen; nurture biodiversity; directly support human well-being through food; mineral; and energy resources; and provide cultural and recreational services. However, humans are causing rapid change that is negatively impacting all of the services our oceans provide.

    Unsustainable resource extraction, pollution, climate change and habitat destruction have impacted many parts of the ocean and are on the rise in many regions. While improved management and conservation have helped to reduce threats and restore some key ecosystems, ocean health overall is in decline. If left unchecked, a growing and resource hungry human population will add additional pressures on the ocean. The second World Ocean Assessment reiterates this message. It identifies almost all components of the ocean impacted by climate change and human use, highlighting the need for integrated management of human activities both on land and in the ocean.

    2
    Pollution is one significant threat to ocean health.

    Connection to our oceans

    Roughly 40 per cent of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometres of the coast. More than 600 million people currently live in coastal regions that are less than 10 metres above sea level, a number that is expected to grow to more than a billion by 2050. This puts them at increased risk from sea level rise. In Australia, 85 per cent of our population lives in coastal regions, with almost all of our capital cities located on the coast.

    Many people rely on the ocean for their incomes. The global economy derived from the ocean is expected to reach $3 trillion USD by 2030. As of 2018, ocean related sectors such as freight, ship building and repair, infrastructure, domestic and international tourism, recreational and commercial fisheries, and oil and gas contributed approximately $60 billion to the Australian economy. The total employment associated with the ocean and coastal sectors is estimated at around 393,000 full time equivalent jobs.

    Our coastal seas are hotspots of human-ocean interactions and are also regions where humans are predominantly impacted by ocean dangers. Storm surges, tsunamis, and changes in the ocean, such as sea level rise and associated erosion, are all risks to those in coastal regions.

    3
    In Australia 85 per cent of our population lives in coastal regions.

    Setting goals to sustain ocean health

    To ensure the ongoing sustainability of our oceans, we need to measure and monitor ocean health and function and effectively manage human activity in an integrated manner. The scope of research needed includes forecasting and predicting ocean-related impacts on coastal communities, measuring the effectiveness of policy interventions and better planning the use of our oceans and its resources.

    The international community, including Australia, has set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for achieving sustainability by 2030. The science we need to meet the challenges of reversing ocean ecological decline while meeting these SDGs will require more than just scaling up our current approaches to business as usual. The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) calls on those in science, business, industry, government, and the public to come together to collaboratively harness advances from all fields to better understand our ocean, how humans interact with it, the responses of the ocean to that use and develop solutions for achieving a sustainable future.

    What is being proposed?

    The Ocean Decade aims to drive the generation of interdisciplinary science, data, and information needed by multiple stakeholders to meet the SDGs. It will break down barriers and find new ways of better integrating data and analytical tools to aid decision-making for sustainable development.

    This ‘whole earth’ approach to ocean observation, analysis, modelling and delivery of information will allow society to better account and plan for the complex and often non-linear processes that drive ocean systems and the many pressures impacting them. It will build on existing partnerships and technologies and create new ones to enhance and expand the global scientific capacity required to quickly collect issue-specific information to meet the constantly-evolving needs of sustainable management in a rapidly developing global blue economy.

    5
    Woman wearing goggles on her head smiles at the camera while holding oyster shells in her hand.

    The Ocean Decade is organised around seven outcomes for societal benefit, with each requiring that action be taken to:

    -identify and routinely measure essential variables related to the climate, ocean processes and socio ecological systems that can serve as sentinels of ocean health
    -in association, develop new technologies, including new sensors and new methodological approaches, to measure and monitor these ocean variables
    -establish new public-private partnerships in ocean observing, data distribution, and information product delivery between science, engineering and information technology communities
    -develop new tracking and prediction capacities to support integrated, multi-hazard, early warning systems, and in association, improved community preparedness and awareness,
    -establish innovative ways to share data, information and knowledge amongst all stakeholders in an open, transparent and equitable manner
    -build capacity by training, resource mobilization, sharing of infrastructure and exchange of experts across, nations, institutions and disciplines
    -increase efforts in knowledge sharing beyond experts to build up ocean literacy around the world, from school programs to citizen engaged science to societal decision makers
    -translate knowledge into individual actions that generate the societal behaviour changes required for sustainability.

    What is happening so far?

    The first call for actions under the Ocean Decade has seen the global science community come together to put forward ambitious programmes of work across:

    -ocean discovery
    -ocean and coastal modelling and prediction
    -developing and improving management and decision support tools
    -improving best practices and access to ocean knowledge
    -facilitating connections between ocean stakeholders.

    6
    Deploying an ocean acidification buoy off Maria Island, Tasmania for ongoing ocean monitoring and data collection Image: Carlie Devine.

    Many include input from the Australian research community and Australian ocean stakeholders. In addition, Australians are involved in specific actions that have been recognised under the Ocean Decade including conferences, workshops, exhibitions and events.

    The official launch of the Ocean Decade will occur on 2 June in Australia. This will be followed by a series of ‘Ocean Decade Laboratories’ scheduled to occur across 2021 and 2022. These laboratories are aimed at catalysing partnerships and co-designing actions to be carried out under the Ocean Decade.

    The launch event will coincide with the first virtual Early Career Ocean Professionals Day which is to be hosted by and for early career ocean professionals from around the world to showcase their work, activities, and contributions to the Ocean Decade. Australian early career ocean professionals will be contributing to this global event with a program of activities being hosted by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania.

    The future of Australia’s ocean resources

    As we progress the Ocean Decade, the efforts of the Australian ocean community and outputs generated under the Ocean Decade will assist in progressing the Australian government’s commitments to the ocean made via the High Level Panel on a Sustainable Ocean Economy, and to the SDGs, in particular SDG 14 – Life Below Water.

    6
    Managing ocean resources responsibly and sustainably is critical for human health.

    Through reporting mechanisms such as Australia’s State of the Environment report and the ocean indicators contained therein and similar reports delivered through state and territory processes, we will be able to track outcomes for ocean health. This includes associated changes to the way we plan and manage our use of the ocean resulting from efforts carried out as part of the Ocean Decade.

    These reporting mechanisms will be essential for determining whether the transformational change needed for ensuring the future sustainability and health of the ocean has truly been achieved.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU), is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    .

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array

    .

     
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