Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Earth vibrations can shed light on deep ocean storm activity

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

New research led by the University of Tasmania has shown that vibrations in the Earth can be used to study patterns of deep ocean (outside the continental shelf) storms in the Southern Ocean.

The study, an international collaboration with the University, CSIRO and the University of Utah, was published recently in Geophysical Research Letters and reports the first decade-long analysis of seismic signals generated by ocean storms with a focus on the Southern Ocean.

Dr Anya Reading, (lecturer in Physical Sciences/Earth Sciences at the University), said deep ocean storms play an important role in the uptake of carbon dioxide.

“They are the ‘eggbeater’ that mixes carbon dioxide into the oceans- and it is very important that carbon dioxide is stored in the oceans rather than building up in the atmosphere.”

Dr Reading said there is a general sense that storm activity is increasing and extreme events are getting worse. Learning about these storms in the past has been difficult.

“There is a lot of activity going on and it is important for understanding global systems.

“However, it is difficult to track and measure deep ocean storms from normal measurements alone, such as wind speed or direct observation, but that cannot tell us what is happening in the deep ocean.”

What can shed some light is seismic records.

“The constant...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.