News

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Sydney weather and air quality data now available from TERN

Detailed time-series weather and air-quality data collected at Sydney schools are now available for download via TERN. The data collected by the Schools Weather and Air Quality (SWAQ) citizen science project includes the Black Summer bushfires and multiple COVID-19 lockdown periods. This presents a valuable dataset for urban ecology, air pollution, and climate research, and future urban planning. It also provides an opportunity for international collaborations and global-scale science.

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Directors Update – August 2021

In August, the TERN Science Advisory Committee met online under its new Chair, Distinguished Professor Belinda Medlyn and welcomed new members Professor Andy Pitman AO FAA, from UNSW, and Professor Megan Lewis, from University of Adelaide. We are delighted to see the renewal of five members and thank two outgoing members at the end of their three-year terms.

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Students visualise Perth’s water data

Since 2011, TERN’s research infrastructure in southwest Western Australia has been helping us understand how climate, water and vegetation are interacting at the Gnangara groundwater mound. The Gnangara Mound is a crucial water resource for Perth—and its dependent ecosystems. Rainfall is declining, the banksia woodlands still need water, so what does this mean for the sustainability of Perth’s water supply? TERN’s Research Infrastructure and data are helping to investigate some of these questions and a new interactive website, built by uni students, tells this story, and visualises the data behind it.

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TERN data assist government and industry-led sustainable grazing practices in Great Barrier Reef catchments

Queensland Government scientists are using all scales of TERN data to help monitor and manage grazing pressure in the state’s two largest river catchments, Burdekin and Fitzroy, which flow to the coast, where they impact the Great Barrier Reef.

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How do we quantify Australia’s ecosystem services?

In this, our second popular science articles from TERN, Prof. Andy Lowe discusses the measures and metrics used to track the state, condition and trajectory of our ecosystem services. Read on to find out how TERN data streams can provide accurate estimates or supporting information to monitor the stocks and changes in critical ecosystem services now and into the future.

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Actual evapotranspiration data for the entire Australian continent now available from TERN

High-resolution (30m), high-frequency (monthly), continuous (no gaps due to clouds) actual evapotranspiration data are now freely available for download from TERN. These world-leading satellite-derived data promote accurate water balance modelling for any catchment or groundwater system in Australia. The dynamics of water use from all vegetation communities, including ‘biodiversity hotspots’ such as groundwater dependent ecosystems, can be monitored through droughts and floods.

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Centre Spotlight: University of the Sunshine Coast Forest Research Institute

This month’s spotlight is aimed at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) Forest Research Institute. This group undertakes work in the broad spectrum of forestry research areas that make direct and meaningful contributions to the sustainability of our wooded landscapes, including important areas of studies such as smallholder and forest conservation-based research, along with work to ensure industries profitable while meeting regulatory requirements and public expectations.

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Site of the Month: Mitchell Grass Rangeland SuperSite

From on-ground monitoring plots, to high-tech sensor-laden towers and satellite measurements, all scales of TERN’s ecosystem observatory are coming together at TERN’s Mitchell Grass Rangeland SuperSite in Queensland to deliver critical data for research, policy, management and industry-led extension.

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Directors Update – July 2021

In the interests of Australia’s multi-decadal ability to understand and predict environmental changes, TERN’s vision remains consistent – in 2030, Australia will possess a continuously growing time-series of environmental measurements for land-based ecosystems that enable science for decision-making about our valuable ecosystem assets and foster targeted research on emerging challenges for the future benefit of Australians.

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Building a global picture of plant ecological function

An international team of scientists hoping to uncover global patterns in the relationship between a plant’s form and the environment and climate in which it lives, were only able to explain <10% of the variation found in key functional patterns of leaves, the primary organ for light and carbon capture. In this, the first of several popular science articles from TERN, Prof. Andy Lowe explores alternative ways of solving this global scientific dilemma.

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