state_crestJohn Day Minister for Planning; Culture and the Arts; Science and Innovation
Fri 13 January, 2012

Robots walk the plank on unique science vessel

Vessel visits Fremantle as part of its work deploying research robots
Robot floats gather data on world’s oceanography and meteorology
Research supported through $2m State Government funding over five years

Minister John Day meets with the RV Lady Amber

Minister John Day meets with the RV Lady Amber


Science and Innovation Minster John Day visited the state-of-the-art oceanographic science vessel the Lady Amber as it visited Fremantle as part of its work deploying robot floats to research Indian Ocean and climate data.

Mr Day said the important research was coordinated through the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) established by UNESCO and supported by the State Government, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Federal Government.

“Western Australia plays an important role in this research to improve the understanding and prediction of the world’s oceanography and meteorology,” he said.

“The Perth office, one of only two UNESCO IOC offices in the southern hemisphere, is an important regional focal point of the IOC which is recognised through State Government financial assistance of $2million over five years.”

The Minister said the Lady Amber – originally a South African charter yacht for tourism – is unique as it is the only vessel of its kind involved in this work. “The yacht, under charter to the CSIRO, has successfully deployed 55 Argo robot floats in the Indian Ocean and will deploy more robots to the north of the North West Shelf once she again sets sail,” he said.

Mr Day said the research is also supported through Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) to which the State Government has provided $6million in funding.

“As part of IMOS, Australia has a diverse array of oceanographic instruments stationed off the coast, including floats for the Argo Sensing Network,” he said.

“The primary aim of the Argo program is to maintain a global array of robot research floats to increase understanding of ocean salinity, temperature and aspects of its biology to 2,000m depth. “The success of the program is illustrated by the fact that, in the past 10 years, more high resolution hydrographical profiles have been provided by Argo floats than from the rest of the observing systems put together.”

Fact File
Australia was one of the initial 40 member nations comprising the IOC established by UNESCO in
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