CCRC Team: Academic and research staff

Academic staff

Professor Steve Sherwood Professor Steve Sherwood
Director, Climate Change Research Centre
Honours supervisor

Steve explores the physics of the atmosphere as it relates to climate, with emphasis on theory and observations of cloud processes and their connections to the atmospheric circulation, water vapour, temperature distributions, and Earths radiation budget; ways in which these connections will control how water vapour, precipitation, and clouds behave in a changing climate.

Click here for more information and contact details for Professor Steven Sherwood.

Professor Matthew England Professor Matthew England
ARC Laureate Fellow
Deputy Director, Climate Change Research Centre
Honours supervisor

Matthew’s main research activities reside in large-scale physical oceanography, ocean modelling, ocean-atmosphere dynamics and climate variability, with a particular focus on the Southern Hemisphere. Using ocean, atmosphere, and coupled climate models in combination with observations / theory, he studies what controls ocean currents and how these currents affect climate and climate variability on time-scales of seasons to centuries.  Particular focus areas include the circulation and variability of the Southern Ocean and its role in regional climate; global-scale water-mass formation: mechanisms, variability and stability; ENSO, the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode; and past ocean circulation states and paleoclimate modelling.

Click here for more information and contact details for Professor Matthew England.

Professor Andy Pitman Professor Andy Pitman
Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science

Andy is a climate modeller with a major focus on land surface processes. Recently, he has been working on coupled carbon modules for climate models including dynamic vegetation how vegetation responds to increasing carbon dioxide and how uncertain our projections of the future might be given instability in terrestrial carbon storage. He has also explored the global and regional impacts of land cover change. He has interests in climate extremes and how these are likely to change in the future. Andy co-chairs the Project for the Intercomparison of Landsurface Parameterization Schemes, he is chair of GLASS, a lead author in the IPCC, a member of National Committee for Earth System Science, convenor of the ARC Research Network for Earth System Science and co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at UNSW.

Click here for more information and contact details for Professor Andy Pitman.

Professor Chris Turney Professor Chris Turney
Adjunct, Climate Change Research Centre
ARC Laureate Fellow, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Chris explores past climates and their relevance to future change. By developing and applying new methods to investigate natural archives across Australia and the globe as a whole, he is developing reconstructions that allow historical weather records to be extended beyond the mid-nineteenth century. Working with climate models, Chris is using these reconstructions to look into the mechanisms, timing and impact of extreme change in the past and future at regional and global scales which will ultimately enable an improved understanding of the mechanisms of both past and future abrupt climate change in Australia and globally.

Click here for more information and contact details for Professor Chris Turney.

Click here for the Palaeoclimate Consortium.

Dr Gab Abramowitz Dr Gab Abramowitz
Senior Lecturer
Honours supervisor

Gab is interested in theoretical problems in climate and environmental modelling. What is the relationship between model predictions and the natural system and under which conditions are model results meaningful? Specific research areas include: measures of model independence; performance and model-space metrics; identification and quantification of model bias; stochastic performance measures and likelihoods; as well as issues surrounding statistically based versus physically based modelling of climate change scenarios. His work has focussed on land surface models and he has contributed to the ACCESS land surface model, CABLE. Gab is also an adjunct research fellow at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Gab Abramovitz.

Dr Lisa Alexander Dr Lisa Alexander
Senior Lecturer
Honours supervisor

Changes in the frequency and/or severity of extreme climate events have the potential to have profound societal and ecological impacts. Lisa's work primarily focuses on improving our understanding of observed changes in these events using multiple research tools ranging from station observations to climate model output. Much of her work has been focussed on the creation of high quality global datasets and comparison with state of the art climate models.

Email Dr Lisa Alexander.

Dr Jason Evans A/Prof Jason Evans
Associate Professor and ARC Australian Research Fellow
Honours supervisor

Jason is interested in water resource issues, particularly the impact on water resources of changes in climate and changes in land-use. He uses various tools to examine the changes including regional climate and surface hydrological models, satellite remotely sensed and in-situ data and stable isotope analysis.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Jason Evans.

Dr Donna Green Dr Donna Green
Senior Lecturer
Honours supervisor

Donna focuses on human-environment interactions, specifically on social and economical vulnerability, adaptation and risk. Her current research programme uses indigenous and non-indigenous knowledge to understand climate impacts on remote communities in northern Australia. Her teaching focuses on linking energy policy, climate change and environmental impacts in Australia and internationally.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Donna Green.

Dr Melissa Hart Dr Melissa Hart
Graduate Director ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science
Honours supervisor

Melissa’s main research focus is in the area of urban climate, in particular the impact of land-use, surface characteristics and anthropogenic activities on the climate of cities, and quantification of the magnitude of the urban heat island (UHI). Melissa is also working in the area of climate sensitivity of building energy consumption and is developing Typical Meteorological Year (TMY) data files under future climate scenarios for use in building energy modelling, thereby allowing assessment of building energy consumption under climatic conditions predicted to occur during the life of the building. Other research interests include statistical climatology and air pollution meteorology; public perception, behaviour change and health impacts of extreme weather and air quality; and climate model downscaling.


Dr Ben McNeil Dr Ben McNeil
Senior Lecturer and ARC QEII Research Fellow

Ben is currently researching:

  • Global carbon cycle - C02 sources and sinks
  • Climate change policy, Australia's role in the Kyoto protocol
  • Climate change and oceanic impacts: including processes such as air-sea gas exchange, water mass ventilation, biological carbon export and coral reef calcification
  • Southern Ocean carbon cycle
  • Detecting and attributing climate change in the ocean.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Ben McNeil.

Dr Angela M. Maharaj Dr Angela M. Maharaj

Angela's research interests lie in interannual to inter-decadal scale processes which dominate climate variability, using satellite derived and in-situ observations, with a strong focus on the Indo-Pacific and the role of the ocean. Angela has been actively pursuing research in the areas of climate modes of variability (e.g., ENSO, SAM, IOD), planetary wave propagation, subtropical gyre variability, ocean productivity and tropical cyclones.


Dr Katrin Meissner A/Prof Katrin Meissner
Associate Professor
Future Fellow
Post Graduate Coordinator
Honours supervisor

Katrin is interested in abrupt climate change events, as well as thresholds and feedbacks in the climate system. She uses Earth System Climate Models in conjunction with paleoclimate records to improve our understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying climate variability and climate change, particularly in the context of terrestrial biogeochemical cycles and ocean circulation.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Katrin Meissner.

Dr Alex Sen Gupta Dr Alex Sen Gupta
Senior Lecturer
|Honours supervisor

Alex is looking at a number of different aspects of the southern hemisphere climate, both its mean state and variability. Developing an offline model (based on MOM1) which includes passive, age and CFC tracers to look at ventilation pathways and timescales for deep and bottom waters. This method allows unprecedented multi-century integrations at eddy-permitting resolutions. Currently, he is extending this work to look at intermediate waters. As an offshoot of this he also developed a lagrangian model that has been used to investigate the dispersal ability of a species of jellyfish and to determine if their dispersals are mainly natural or anthropogenic. More recently he has been doing model runs and analyzing the extensive model datasets of the NCAR CCSM coupled climate model. The long datasets have allowed various statistical techniques to be applied to extra-tropical southern hemisphere variability. In particular he is looking at the Southern Annular Mode(SAM) and its effect on the ocean and ice systems. He is currently looking at possible feedbacks from the ocean and ice systems back onto the SAM.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Alex Sen Gupta.

Paul Spence Dr Paul Spence

Paul is currently using a suite of global climate models, ranging from coarse to ocean eddy-permitting, to investigate ocean dynamics. His research is currently focused on water mass transformation in the North Atlantic and the Southern Ocean, as well as dynamics in the equatorial Pacific.

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Dr Erik van Sebille Dr Erik van Sebille
ARC DECRA fellow
Honours supervisor

Erik studies the pathways and time scales of water as it circulates around the oceans. He is particularly interested in the connection between the different ocean basins, and what determines how much water 'leaks' from one ocean basin into another. This typically occurs in regions of the ocean (south of South Africa and south of Australia) which are dominated by large amounts of variability. Particularly in these regions, but also elsewhere in the ocean, pathways of water parcels are complicated and seemingly chaotic and bear very little resemblance to the classic textbook pictures of the global ocean circulation. Erik's primary goal is to create a global picture of the ocean circulation from the trajectories and time scales of these looping, eddy-driven water parcels.

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Research staff

Dr Christopher Aiken
Chris likes to study how variability in things arises.  How much is due to the internal character of the dynamical system, how much owes to the external forcing, and which bits can be predicted?  At the CCRC he is looking at ENSO precursors, decadal predictability and ACC eddies.

Dr Joseph AndersenDr Joseph Andersen Dr Joseph Andersen
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Joe is mostly interested in how phenomena on large scale end of atmospheric dynamics - such as the MJO and the Hadley Circulation - interact with the climate. One current project is an attempt to identify and understand how the boundaries of the tropical region have moved in the recent decades and may continue to move in the near future as the climate changes.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Joseph Andersen.

Daniel Argüeso Dr Daniel Argüeso
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Daniel investigates regional climate modeling and the study of climate change at regional scales. He uses regional models to generate high-resolution projections of climate change and explore its implications on precipitation and temperature, particularly in terms of extreme events. Daniel is also interested in the parameterization of sub-grid scale processes and the evaluation of models' ability to represent current climate.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Daniel Argüeso.

Claire Carouge Dr Claire Carouge
Research Associate

Claire’s research focuses on coupling a land surface model with a regional atmospheric circulation model to better understand actual and future Australian climate at regional scales. Previously, Claire was part of the support team for the atmospheric chemistry model, GEOS-Chem, in the Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group at Harvard University, US. She implemented new model developments, benchmarked new versions and kept an up-to-date documentation. Claire also did a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan. Her research at the institute estimated CO2 fluxes coming from and going into the atmosphere over Western Siberia using regional atmospheric CO2 inversions. Claire achieved her PhD in 2006 at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environment (France). As part of her PhD she developed a method to perform regional inversions of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and tested it over Western Europe.


Mark Decker Dr Mark Decker
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Mark's research focuses on the land surface and its interaction with the atmosphere. Specifically his interests include using land models in conjunction with in-situ and remotely sensed measurements to study the impact of land processes on weather and climate, the development of land models focusing on improving the representation of the various physical processes, and the impact on climate due to both natural and anthropogenic changes in the land surface. Currently he is identifying regions in Australia where groundwater has a significant impact on climate through the use of models and remotely sensed data.


Alejandro Di Luca Dr Alejandro Di Luca
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Alejandro is currently trying to quantify likely future changes in the frequency and intensity of low pressure systems that forms adjacent to the Tasman Sea (denoted as East Coast Lows; ECLs). This analysis uses a variety of datasets (reanalysis products, GCM simulations) although it concentrates in RCM simulations performed in the context of the NARCliM project. His goal is to understand the role played by various physical mechanisms in producing changes in ECLs and to determine to what extent these changes can be better capture by the use of high-resolution climate models. Alejandro is also interested in more general issues in regional climate modelling such as their evaluation and the determination of their added values when compared with the driving data.


Dr Markus Donat Dr Markus Donat
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Markus focuses on extreme climate events, their changes under anthropogenic climate change conditions, and the uncertainties associated with observational data and climate model simulations. He is especially interested in understanding processes and changes in the climate system, and performing in-depth analyses of climate model simulations to learn about the mechanisms in the climate system and to compare the role of natural variability with anthropogenically driven changes.

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Dr Chris Fogwill Dr Chris Fogwill
Senior Research Associate

Chris is a glacial geologist and palaeoclimatologist, who uses direct geochronological techniques to reconstruct the configuration of the Earths ice sheets over timescales from centuries to millennia. His research aims to improve estimates of the past contribution of ice sheets to sea level rise to enable better prediction of future sea-level rise. It also adds an important long-term perspective on recent observations of rapid ice sheet in the polar ice sheets from remote sensing and empirical observations. Ongoing research projects include understanding the response over millennia to climate forcing in locations ranging from Greenland, Svalbard, Patagonia and Antarctica. Chris is also a Honorary Fellow at The University of Exeter.

Email Dr Chris Fogwill.

Leela Frankcombe Dr Leela Frankcombe
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Leela is interested in internal variability of the ocean - variability that is intrinsic to the ocean system rather than being externally driven. She uses a range of numerical models, from highly idealised models designed to understand the basic physical processes to coupled climate models from which we can both test the hypotheses developed from idealised models and compare the results to observations. In particular, Leela has studied Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (a long lasting pattern of sea surface temperature variations in the North Atlantic), and bimodality of the Kuroshio (decadal variations of the path of the western boundary current off the coast of Japan). 

Click here fore more information about Dr Leela Frankcombe.

Daniel Hernandez Dr Daniel Hernandez
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Daniel is currently studying the dynamics of tropical convection using cloud resolving simulations and satellite observations. His goal is to gain a better understanding of the dynamical processes involved, so as to improve current parametrizations of convection in climate models. Before coming to the Climate Change Research Centre at UNSW, he spent 4 years at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, where he obtained his Ph.D. within the International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modelling (IMPRS-ESM). During his PhD studies he used climate models to explore the energetics response of the atmosphere to global warming. Prior to that, he completed his Physics undergraduate studies (2005) and a Master's degree in Meteorology (2007) in Bogota, at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.


Nicolas Jourdain Dr Nicolas Jourdain
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Nicolas is looking at the relationship between the South Asian and Australian Monsoon. Previously, he has investigated the representation of katabatic winds in regional atmospheric simulations of the Ross Sea and Ross Ice Shelf area (Antarctica). In particular, he has quantified the role of local ocean-atmosphere feedbacks in this sea ice-covered region. Nicolas has also contributed to the understanding of the variability of the Arctic sea ice properties. The last few years he has been working on tropical cyclones and their impact on the ocean, from processes studies to climate studies.

Click here for more information and contact details for Nicolas Jourdain.

Jatin Kala Dr Jatin Kala
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Jatin’s work focuses on improving our understanding of land-atmosphere interactions by using state-of-the-art land surface models coupled to atmospheric models. Before jointing CCRC, Jatin completed his PhD at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, and investigated the impacts of land-cover change on meteorological phenomena in southwest Western Australia using both observational data-sets and a non-hydrostatic mesoscale regional atmospheric model. Jatin is also interested in regional climate modelling and impact assessment studies for agriculture.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Jatin Kala.

Jules Kajtar Dr Jules Kajtar
Research Associate

Jules is a research associate at the Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW. He analyses climate models and observational data to investigate modes of climate variability.

Jules has a diverse research background, but with particular expertise in numerical mathematics. Before commencing at the CCRC in October 2012, he completed his PhD on numerical relativity and fluid dynamics (Monash University, 2010). He then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship, during which he built and analysed numerical models of swimming fish (Monash University, 2010-12).


Dr Yi Liu Dr Yi Liu
ARC DECRA fellow

Yi is a hydrologist with research interests in using satellite-based obser­va­tions and model simulations to inves­ti­gate the hydro­log­i­cal cycle, e.g. pre­cip­i­ta­tion, evap­o­ra­tion, soil mois­ture, veg­e­ta­tion water con­tent and ground­wa­ter stor­age, for enhanced under­stand­ing of inter­ac­tions between dif­fer­ent hydro­log­i­cal components.

Cur­rently Yi is work­ing on devel­op­ing satellite-based global long term (>20 years) veg­e­ta­tion water con­tent and aboveground biomass datasets using a series of satellites. The spatiotemporal variation in biomass carbon over past decades will be investigated to better understand how it responds to climate change and human activities. Such information, together with land surface and regional climate models, will allow more accurate estimation of future vegetation dynamics and carbon storage.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Yi Liu

Ruth Lorenz Dr Ruth Lorenz
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Ruth is interested in the interactions between the earth's land surface and climate. She uses climate models and her main focus is land-climate feedbacks during extreme events. During her PhD she used regional climate models coupled to land surface models of different complexity to investigate these feedbacks in Europe. For example, she investigated the impacts from soil moisture and vegetation phenology on recent European heat waves.


Shayne McGregor Dr Shayne McGregor
ARC DECRA fellow

Shayne uses numerical models of the atmosphere, ocean and coupled system to improve our understanding interannual to multi-decadal scale climate variability. He is particularly interested in the dynamics of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. His current research focuses on the effect of the South Pacific Convergence Zone on the termination of El Nino events.

Click here for more information and contact details for Shayne McGregor.

Laurie Menviel Dr Laurie Menviel
Post doctoral research fellow

Laurie studies climate carbon cycle interactions using models of intermediate complexity. She is particularly interested in the impact of abrupt changes in ocean circulation on the global carbon cycle. She also studies marine carbon cycle variations over glacial/interglacial timescales. She combines modeling experiments with existing paleoproxies to better constrain past changes in the climate and the carbon cycle.

Click here for more information and contact details for Laurie Menviel.

Roman Olson Dr Roman Olson

Roman is interested in the question of how will temperature, precipitation, and their extremes over Australia and the surrounding region change in the future. This question is addressed using regional climate model runs with high resolution over the state of New South Wales. Roman is also interested in Bayesian parameter estimation, Gaussian Process emulators, and Meridional Overturning Circulation.

Click here for more information and contact details for Roman Olsen.

Jonathan Palmer Dr Jonathan Palmer
Research Fellow

Jonathan is a dendrochronologist interested in the development of palaeoclimate records from Australasia.  His activities include not only the collection of tree-ring material from some remote locations but a significant portion of time is spent on local counterpart training in countries such as Pakistan, Myanmar and Indonesia. Another aspect of his research is the extension back in time of tree-ring chronologies using subfossil wood preserved in bogs located primarily in New Zealand.  Often coupled with subfossil collections are sample preparations for radiocarbon dating and the development of the Southern Hemisphere radiocarbon calibration curve.

Sarah Perkins Dr Sarah Perkins
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Sarah’s work focuses on Australian climate extremes. Her work explores observed trends in droughts and heat waves and estimating the uncertainty associated with observations. Sarah is also working on determining the natural and human components of observed regional climate change in Australia, using both observed and climate model data.  She will also investigate the combined affects of natural variability and increased greenhouse forcings on changes in climate extremes throughout the 21st Century.


Dr Steven Phipps Dr Steven Phipps
Research Fellow
Honours supervisor

Steven is a palaeoclimatologist and earth system modeller, with a particular interest in climate variability and change on millennial timescales. He is currently exploring how El Nino, the Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode have evolved over the past 10,000 years, and the impacts of these changes upon the climate of the Australian region. Steven is also the developer and maintainer of the CSIRO Mk3L climate system model, a fast and portable version of CSIRO's climate model that can be used to investigate climate variability and change on millennial timescales.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Steven Phipps.

Dr Agus Santoso Dr Agus Santoso
Senior Research Scientist

Agus analyses climate models and observational data to investigate modes of climate and water mass variability. Statistical data analysis techniques such as spectral, correlation analyses, empirical orthogonal functions, digital filtering, wavelets are implemented. Interests include the evolution of Southern Ocean water masses; air-sea processes in relation to the El Nino - Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean anomalies, Antarctic Circumpolar Wave, Southern Annular Mode, and their connection to global/regional climate variability and extremes.

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Dr Willem Sijp Dr Willen Sijp
Senior Lecturer

Willem looks at numerical climate modelling, feedbacks in the global thermohaline circulation, NADW stability, Paleoclimatology. Of particular interest are the effect of the Drake Passage on past and present climate and NADW collapse.

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Kial Stewart Dr Kial Stewart
Post Doctoral Research Fellow

We are working towards understanding and quantifying eddy-mean flow interactions in the global oceans. A framework to describe eddy-mean flow interactions has been developed and recently applied to a series of idealized ocean models with promising results. We aim to build upon this work by employing the framework in a suite of global ocean models of various spatial resolutions to examine the ability of these models to resolve eddy-mean flow feedback effects.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Kial Stewart.

Dr Andrea Taschetto Dr Andrea Taschetto
ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Andrea investigates the mechanisms by which the oceans can affect the climate through numerical models. She is interested in climate variability, teleconnection patterns in the Southern Hemisphere, air-sea interactions and statistical methods for data analysis.

Click here for more information and contact details for Dr Andrea Taschetto.


Latest news

Dr Michael Molitor Public lecture - De-carbonising for growth: why everyone is wrong about the costs of addressing climate change
20 April 2014
We will rapidly de-carbonize the global energy system not because we care sufficiently about the enormous risks flowing from a climate system profoundly modified by human activity but because, in the absence of this gigantic infrastructure investment opportunity, we will never generate sufficient economic growth between now and 2050. This inevitable outcome has dramatic implications for Australia's future energy supply and prosperity.

Plastic bottle caps found in the ocean (source: NOAA PIFSC) Ocean debris leads the way for castaway fisherman
05 February 2014
The fisherman who washed up on the Marshall Islands last weekend was very lucky to have stranded on a remote beach there. The currents in the Pacific Ocean would have inevitably taken him into the great garbage patch of the North Pacific, where he could then have been floating for centuries to come.

Man in heat wave Get used to heat waves: extreme El Niño events to double
20 January 2014
Extreme weather events fuelled by unusually strong El Niños, such as the 1983 heatwave that led to the Ash Wednesday bushfires in Australia, are likely to double in number as our planet warms.

More news...

Copenhagen Diagnosis logo

The Copenhagen Diagnosis

On 25th November 2009 members of The Climate Change Research Centre, as part of a group of 26 international climate scientists, were part of a major international release of a new report synthesizing the latest climate research to emerge since the last IPCC Assessment Report of 2007.


World map

There are no time-travelling climatologists: why we use climate models

In the absence of time-travelling climatologists, models are unrivalled tools for understanding our changing climate system. That is, climate models are scientific tools. We should recognise them as such and consider them with rigorous scientific, not political, scepticism.



The Big Engine 2: oceans and weather

Federation Fellow and 2008 Eureka Prize winner, Professor Matthew England of CCRC, on the latest research into the role oceans play on weather.


Smoke stack

The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers

Co-authored by Professor Steven Sherwood and Professor Matt England of CCRC, this Academy of Science report aims to summarise and clarify the current understanding of the science of climate change for non-specialist readers.


Ocean weather

The Big Engine 1: oceans and weather

Federation Fellow and 2008 Eureka Prize winner, Professor Matthew England of CCRC, on the latest research into the role oceans play on weather.


Tree rings

New insights into the climate of the past 2,000 years

A comprehensive new scientific study has revealed fresh insights into the climate of the past 2,000 years, providing further evidence that the 20th century warming was not a natural phenomenon. After 1900, increasing temperatures reversed a previous long-term cooling trend. This 20th Century warming has occurred simultaneously in all regions except Antarctica.



The dynamics of the global ocean circulation

The ocean is far from a stagnant body of water. Instead, it is constantly in motion, at speeds from a few centimetres per second to two metres per second in the most vigorous currents.


Plastic rubbish

Leave the ocean garbage alone: we need to stop polluting first

Recent plans to clean plastics from the five massive ocean garbage patches could do more damage to the environment than leaving the plastic right where it is.


Plastic rubbish

Charting the garbage patches of the sea

Just how much plastic is there floating around in our oceans? Dr Erik van Sebille from UNSW's Climate Change Research Centre has completed a study of ocean "garbage patches", and has found that in some regions the amount of plastic outweighs that of marine life.



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