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Australia, New Zealand scientists hope to strengthen climate change study with agreement


10:59, December 07, 2011

WELLINGTON, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand scientists hope an historic agreement on collaboration in marine research with Australia will improve environment studies and knowledge of climate change.

The agreement to improve collaboration on marine research, observations and data management between the two countries was signed in Canberra Tuesday by Australian Minister of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Kim Carr and the New Zealand High Commissioner Martyn Dunne.

Chief scientist of oceans at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) Dr. Charlotte Severne said the agreement would greatly enhance the ability of New Zealand to make marine observations, manage databases and undertake economic, environmental and climate change research.

"This strategic initiative will provide us with a working platform for our common areas of interest such as the Tasman Sea, Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean," said Severne in a statement.

"Additionally, it will assist our countries to better understand and monitor natural variability and changes in the marine environment in the Asia-Pacific region."

She said the NIWA maintained nationally and internationally significant atmospheric, climate and marine monitoring networks, equipment and databases and could make a "huge contribution" to the international initiative.

The two governments opened talks on the collaboration in February last year in recognition of their shared interest in the Tasman Sea, Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean.

They agreed to set up a steering committee to develop a formal arrangement between the two countries, with representatives from New Zealand's NIWA, GNS Science, the University of Otago and the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

Australian members include representatives from the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

IMOS director Tim Moltmann said in the statement the agreement would have huge benefits for both countries.

"Australia is now taking a much more national, collaborative approach to marine observing and data management," said Moltmann.

"This is paying big dividends for marine and climate science in our own country and it just makes good sense to reach out to our near neighbors.

"So many of the problems we are studying are common across our countries and, in the ocean, we're all connected.

"The flow-on economic and environmental benefits to New Zealand including improved security, greater understanding of climate change and more sustainable use of our marine resources will be enormous."


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