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Understanding Climate Change
The earth’s atmosphere is changing, carbon dioxide levels are rising, and the earth’s surface and oceans are warming.
However, we are still unsure about the dynamics of these changes. The relationships between the atmosphere, oceans, and land surface, and the cycling of energy, gases and water between them are still uncertain.
Those processes drive climate change and its effects, and are the focus of research at the Calperum OzFlux site.
At the Calperum OzFlux Site, a heavily instrumented tower is measuring fluxes of energy, carbon dioxide and water vapour between the atmosphere, vegetation, upper soil layers and groundwater to answer questions of:
• What are the fundamental energy, carbon, water and nutrient stocks and flows in mallee ecosystems?
• How are those stocks and flows responding to changes in climate and management?
Data from the site is helping in the testing and refinement of Global Climate Models and in checking and calibrating information gained from remote sensing.
The site is also a nucleus for teaching and ancillary research, and the expertise that has been developed can be readily applied to comparable questions in agricultural and urban settings.
The Calperum OzFlux tower is one of nearly twenty such towers in Australia; the only one in South Australia.
That network of Australian sites, the OzFlux Facility of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), is part of a global network of four hundred flux towers.
The flux tower has attracted other research infrastructure and has become part of the TERN Australian SuperSite Network, seeking to better understand how ecosystems will respond to climatic and other environmental changes.
The OzFlux tower is on Calperum Station, north of Renmark in the South Australian Riverland.
Calperum is a reserve managed by the Australian Landscape Trust, for the Australian Government.
It is part of the 9,000 sq km Riverland Biosphere Reserve (shaded in the adjacent map).