No. 06 - 2009-11-27: IUGG 2009 EC Meeting

No. 06 - 2009-11-27: IUGG 2009 EC Meeting
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FROM: Lawrence Mysak, President of IAPSO
OPEN LETTER No. 6 • Friday, 27 November 2009




Dear IAPSO Colleagues:

As many of you know, IAPSO SG Johan Rodhe and I attended the IUGG Executive Committee (EC) meeting in Melbourne, 8-13 October, 2009.  The main purpose of this meeting was to review the recent activities and future plans of IUGG, including those of the eight associations that are under the umbrella of the Union.  In addition, during this time, the Union Scientific Program Committee (SPC) also met to plan the symposia for the 25th IUGG General Assembly, to be held in Melbourne from 27 June to 8 July 2011. Johan, as our SG, represents IAPSO on the SPC, which is chaired by Peter Manins from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, Victoria.
Our meeting began with a tour of the MCEC (Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre), the location of the next general assembly (see  This is a new facility on the banks of the Yarrow River, near the centre of Melbourne and close to several of the city's parks and museums. Thus the MCEC will be a convenient site for the assembly.  We also got the impression that the local organizers have listened carefully to the problems that we had at the last general assembly in Perugia. Thus, we anticipate a well run meeting in Melbourne.

The SPC discussed a long list of Union symposia that have been proposed for the general assembly.  Besides those associated with the four Union Commissions (concerning Risks and Hazards, the Deep Earth, Geophysical Data, and Mathematical Tools), there will be Union symposia on geo-engineering, sea level change, the hydrological cycle, and climate change, among other topics.  As in past assemblies, IAPSO will again be a co-sponsor in a number of joint (e.g., IAMAS-IAPSO) symposia.
As for IAPSO-only symposia, we have in hand proposals for sessions on General Topics of Ocean Physics and Chemistry, the Southern Ocean, the Mediterranean and Red Sea, Ocean Mixing, the Thermohaline Circulation and Deep Currents, Coastal Oceanography and Coral Reefs, Western Boundary Currents, Ocean Acidification, and the Arctic Ocean.  While some potential conveners and invited speakers have been identified and agreed upon, we welcome input from the IAPSO community.  Please send your ideas and offers of engagement to Johan (, with a copy to me.

An important topic discussed at the EC meeting was the role of biology and biogeochemistry in IUGG, which was raised by IAPSO Vice President Denise Smythe-Wright at the last (2008) EC meeting.  While there is unlikely to be a name change for IUGG in the near future, it was agreed that these fields are important for the geosciences. Indeed, some of the associations (IAHS, IAVCEI and IAPSO) already involve these fields in their symposia. At the EC meeting it was agreed that the associations would work together to integrate the biological and biogeochemical sciences into the geophysical sciences.  This approach is central to the emerging field of earth system science, and we as oceanographers have supported this broad field for some time.

Raising the profile of IUGG was also debated at the Melbourne EC meeting.  This can be accomplished with association sponsorship and organization of thematic meetings and workshops  between the IUGG assemblies, and through capacity building activities for developing world scientists.  With the goal of promoting greater visibility of IUGG, several new Union committees were formed:  1. The Visioning Committee; 2. The Capacity Building and Education Committee; and 3. The Honours and Awards Committee.  In addition, a new committee on membership is also being created.  For further information on these developments, please contact Alik Ismail-Zadeh, the SG of IUGG (

In the afternoon of 13 October, the EC joined colleagues at the CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research, in Aspendale, Victoria to participate in a Scientific Workshop to celebrate 90 years of IUGG.  This workshop closed with the 2009 Priestly Lecture, which I had the honour of presenting (see

Lastly, I should mention that after the Melbourne meeting, Johan and I also attended the annual SCOR meeting in Beijing, 20-22 July 2009.  Johan will send out a report on this meeting soon.

As mentioned in my past letters, I am always pleased to hear from you.

With best wishes,

Lawrence A. Mysak
President, IAPSO
and Canada Steamship Lines Professor
Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
McGill University
805 Sherbrooke St. W.
Montreal, QC  H3A 2K6
Tel:  514-398-3768    FAX:  514-398-6115







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