Tucked away on the rugged north-western tip of Tasmania lies Cape Grim, a remote peninsula known as the “Edge of the World”. Here, visitors can find pristine landscapes, dramatic cliffs, windswept heaths, and some of the cleanest air on Earth. Cape Grim is home to the Cape Grim Baseline Atmospheric Pollution Station (CGBAPS), which was established in 1976 to collect and analyze air samples unaffected by local pollution sources. The station plays a vital role in climate change research and provides valuable data on stratospheric ozone depletion and weather patterns.
Cape Grim’s unique location and the strong westerly winds from the Southern Ocean contribute to the purity of its air. These winds travel thousands of kilometers over the ocean, carrying unspoiled air from Antarctica. This remote region is also hit by the Roaring Forties, strong westerly winds between latitudes 40° and 50° that make the Southern Ocean treacherous. The absence of interference from landmasses and the ocean’s vast expanse result in the cleanest air samples measured at Cape Grim.
CGBAPS collects and preserves air samples, creating an air archive that can be measured in the future. This archive is crucial for studying the changing composition of the atmosphere and discovering new gases. Cape Grim’s pristine environment has also attracted entrepreneurs who bottle rainwater and sell bottled Tasmanian air to people living in polluted areas around the world.
Aside from its air quality, Cape Grim is known for its ferocious weather, dramatic cliffs, and rugged landscapes. It is also an important site for the local Indigenous Pennemuker people, with shell middens serving as reminders of their ancestral presence. Efforts are being made to preserve their culture and educate visitors about the devastating history of the Cape Grim massacre in 1828.
With its breathtaking landscapes and remarkably clean air, Cape Grim is truly a hidden gem and a testament to Tasmania’s natural beauty and environmental conservation efforts.
– Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
– Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)
– Tourism Tasmania