Associate Professor Gary Wilson
Over coming decades, the New Zealand landmass, its climate and its surrounding oceans will change to such an extent from global warming that the New Zealand economy and quality of life will be affected directly. This, together with international mitigation agreements, will require careful national and regional planning, underpinned by fundamental ocean and climate system science research.
The Oceans and Climate Change Research Centre will focus a cross-disciplinary research team on the understanding and prediction of variability and change in marine systems. It will establish the inter-relationships of the physical and biological processes that shape New Zealand's unique natural marine setting, determine its natural variability and establish the basis for predicting future change and variability. This will allow New Zealand to manage better its offshore environment and improve understanding of its influence on the terrestrial sector. It should also underpin our ability to respond to environmental and economic opportunities, as well as threats, and provide global leadership in marine stewardship.
The centre intends focusing its effort on four key areas - the subtropical populated north; the subantarctic "pristine" south, an east-to-west South Island transect and the southern Ross Sea / McMurdo Sound. These survey areas will provide access to the entire latitudinal gradient of New Zealand from the Auckland and Campbell Islands in the south to the Kermadec Islands in the north, as well as a key driver of the ocean and climate - Antarctica.
The centre will establish national and international research partnerships in ocean and climate research to provide a focus for training in Marine Science across the spectrum of New Zealand's requirements. Despite the geographic spread of the research effort, the centre will develop a real-time, nationally integrated approach by using the Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network (KAREN) to bring together resources, experiments and teaching of the centre partners.