Aust, China in joint ocean research work

Andrew Drummond

China and Australia have joined forces in their research missions to gauge the impact on global climate of changing ocean conditions.

A Hobart-based research centre is due to be opened on Monday, a collaboration between the CSIRO, China's Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, and the universities of Tasmania and NSW.

"Although China and Australia aren't close geographically, many of the southern oceans processes that influence Australia's climate, also influence China's climate," Professor Lixin Wu said.

"Since climate change is a great challenge to the whole world, we have to rise to it hand in hand in collaboration."

The centre will attract $20 million funding over five years as it investigates southern hemisphere oceans stretching from the tropics to Antarctica.

There is much complex science at work, CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall said.

"The oceans in the southern hemisphere play a crucial role in the climate system, absorbing more heat and carbon dioxide than any other region in the world.

"It is also an exciting opportunity to work with China's leading marine science and technology organisation ... often in answering some of science's biggest questions, you need to take a global approach."

The research centre's work will include looking at melting Antarctic ice shelves, along with investigating the influence of the El Nino climate phenomena.