JOIDES Resolution Begins Ocean Expedition Off Australia

JOIDES Resolution research vessel is preparing to take a group of international scientists on a two-month ocean expedition up the coast of Western Australia to drill deep into the seabed, on a mission to gain valuable insight into climate future.

The $20 million International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Indonesian Throughflow Expedition 356, officially launched in Freemantle, is the first expedition to examine the climatic conditions of the past five million years off the western coast of Australia.

With help from professional drill operators, the team will examine samples taken from drilling up to one kilometer beneath the seabed.

University of Melbourne palaeoceanographer Associate Professor Stephen Gallagher said: “Knowledge of past global climate and oceanic systems is important if we are to understand how our present environment came to be and how it might change in future.

“Our Southern Hemisphere location is vitally important in solving global science problems such a determining the history of the Indonesian Throughflow current, which is a key part of the global oceanic circulation system.”

Prof Gallagher said the layers beneath the seabed contain rock and shells that give vital information about changing ancient environmental conditions, much like tree rings tell a story about the climate of a forest.