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China Partner with Australia to Open State of the Art Ocean Research Center in Tasmania

May 24, 2017     Email"> PrintText Size

China and Australia have partnered together to open a state of the art ocean research facility in Hobart in Australia's Tasmania state.

The Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research (CSHOR) is a vital collaboration, in which China's Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (QNLMST) will work alongside Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) to enhance scientific understanding of the globe's future climate.

"Although we are not geographically close, the southern hemisphere's oceans can have a huge impact on the climate of Asia and can also affect rainfall in China," QNLMST director Wu Lixin told Xinhua at the launch Monday.

Scientists have known for a long time that warmer ocean cycles in the Pacific, referred to as El Nino events, often bring drought to the Australian mainland.

Similarly, when the ocean cycles are cooler and a La Nina event is in effect, the cycle can cause heavy rain and flooding.

But due to recent advances in research, scientists have now discovered the Indian Ocean also experiences such a phenomenon, and according to Steve Rintoul, a climate scientist at the CSIRO, "when those two events interact it can have devastating effects in Australian and on the South East Asian climate."

"Our work at the centre will target how the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean interact to drive climate and also what changes are occurring with sea level rising," Rintoul said.

The facility is set to be a ground-breaking collaboration for marine research, and the relationship between China and the CSIRO is nothing new.

In fact, the long-standing partnership has lasted 40 years, with scientists from China and Australia leading the world in research cooperation.

"Last year we had a global ocean summit, following the G20 conference in China, and we got all the leaders from marine science around the world in our lab to discuss about how to build a global partnership," Wu said.

"We all reached a consensus that we should work together and this new centre is a follow-up to that meeting."

The facility will receive 20 million Australian dollars (14.88 million U.S. dollars) in funding over five years and will be split evenly between the two countries, who will work closely with University of Tasmania and the University of New South Wales.

"All our research will be made public and will act to inform government," Rintoul said.

"We both believe that we should share things widely and as quickly as we can because then we all benefit."

With such an expansive area to study, Rintoul believes cooperation is the best way to maximise resources.

"We will be looking at the tropics right down to Antarctica," Rintoul said.

"China is a rapidly developing and powerful research force in many, many fields, they have things that we don't have and we have things that they don't have, so that will make our partnership a really valuable one," Rintoul said.

Wu echoed these sentiments and emphasised his belief that "global interaction and collaboration is integral to overcoming scientific challenges."

Wu also laid out plans for four more ocean research centres across the world.

"QNLMST is hoping to build five centres, the first is here in Hobart, we plan for two more in the United States and also Russia and Germany," Wu said.

CSIRO chief executive, Larry Marshall also wants a greater connection around the world and hopes the CSHOR "will act as a magnate to bring in more and more partners and make our research even stronger."

"The CSIRO is working towards becoming a hub for more global collaboration like this," Marshall said. (Xinhua)

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(Editor: LIU Jia)

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