The Australian Bluewater Observing System (ABOS) Facility provides the coordination of national efforts in the sustained observation of open ocean properties with particular emphasis on observations important to climate and carbon cycle studies. The major areas of research driving the facility include:
ABOS observations are primarily obtained from moorings specially designed for each site. Autonomous profiling floats and gliders have also been deployed at the Southern Ocean sites to obtain complementary data. Operation of the facility is spread between three sub-facilities.
The Air-Sea Flux Stations (ASFS) sub-facility focuses on marine meteorology and delivers measurements which are necessary for computing air-sea fluxes of heat, momentum and mass with the option to measure surface photosynthetically active radiation and surface UV to help assess light available for phytoplankton production.
Southern Ocean Time Series (SOTS) provides high temporal resolution measurements of physical, chemical and biogeochemical parameters in sub-Antarctic waters. The emphasis is on inter-annual variations of upper ocean properties and their influence on exchange with the deep ocean.
Deepwater Arrays (DA) includes observational programs based on moored conductivity-temperature-depth sensors and current meter arrays in deep waters that are specifically targeted to monitor formation of Antarctic Bottom Water, inter-basin exchange and major boundary currents. The Deepwater array sites include:
a) Polynya Array - the Adelie Land Coast deep shelf to observe outflows of newly forming Antarctic Bottom water,
b) Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) Array - Timor Passage and Ombai Strait, to monitor the inter-basin Indian-Pacific Ocean exchange and the upper limb of the global overturning circulation,
c) East Australian Current (EAC) Array - east coast of Australia, near Brisbane, to monitor EAC transport.