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TIGeR supports research voyage studying carbon sequestration in the Southern Ocean

Posted 9 March 2021

TIGeR supported researcher Dr Charlotte Robinson (Remote Sensing and Satellite Research Group; RSSRG) recently returned from a 42-day research voyage studying components of the carbon-cycle in the ‘twilight zone’ of the Southern Ocean. The research conducted on the CSIRO Marine National Facility RV Investigator was part of a multi-disciplinary project, SOLACE: Southern Ocean Large Areal Carbon Export, which brought together biogeochemical sampling, acoustics, marine animal trawls, and a variety of robotic measurement and imaging systems to quantify the sources and sinks of carbon in the sunlit layer of the ocean between 47-57 oS. Dr Robinson deployed a variety of in-water and above-water instrumentation to measure and relate the optical properties of the water to the phytoplankton, microscopic producers of carbon, in the ocean. Despite challenges related to CV-19 restrictions, the twenty scientists on-board achieved a number of significant scientific activities, including the deployment of version 6 of the Underwater Video Profiler on the ship water collecting/water profiling rosette and on autonomous robotic float profilers. They also collected an extensive above-water radiometry (hyperspectral measurements of light leaving the ocean surface) dataset which will be crucial for improving satellite derived estimates of surface ocean carbon pools, especially once the new NASA hyperspectral satellite is launched in 2023. The project involved collaborations and contributions from the CSIRO Marine National Facility, the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), the Australian National University (ANU), Curtin University and the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP).

Optical instrument package measuring the optical properties of the surface ocean to 200m
Optical instrument package measuring the optical properties of the surface ocean to 200m. Photo by Dr Charlotte Robinson.

TIGeR leads science observation campaign for JAXA’s Hayabusa-2 capsule re-entry

Posted 25 February 2021

TIGeR researchers in our Desert Fireball Network team set out to observe the re-entry of JAXA’s Hayabusa-2 capsule over South Australia in December 2020.  They partnered with colleagues from Kochi University of Technology and their partners at Nihon University and Ibaraki University to observe the effects of this planned fireball event.  As Japanese colleagues were unable to travel due to Covid19 restrictions, the Curtin team led the observation campaign, deploying 83 instruments from both Japan and Australia.  As well as existing camera sites from the DFN, 7 additional sites with cameras, seismic and infrasound sensors were deployed along the path of the trajectory, including new equipment obtained through TIGeR and Faculty of Science and Engineering grant schemes.  Data were recorded by 97% of stations – a huge success.  Our team will use this controlled re-entry to assess how well they can predict the origins and fall positions of natural space rocks – meteorites.  Meteorites are some of the most primitive samples we can study.  Knowing where in the Solar System they come gives the in situ information missing from >99.9% of current meteorite samples.  This is fundamental to improving our understanding on the formation and evolution of our Solar System.

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DFN Team, Curtin University
DFN Team, Curtin University.