No. 56 - Letter of New President Hans van Haren

No. 56 - Letter of New President Hans van Haren

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To IAPSO scientists  

Written by Hans van Haren, President IAPSO


OPEN LETTER No. 56 ‚Äď 28 August, 2023¬†

Dear IAPSO colleagues,


At the most recent General Business Meeting of IAPSO in Berlin on 14 July 2023, during the 28th General Assembly of IUGG, I had the honour of being elected as the President of IAPSO for the 2023-2027 period.

In this letter I will outline the tasks on IAPSO's agenda in the coming years, but I also invite you, the ocean community, to provide feedback about new initiatives that you would like to see IAPSO undertake.

What does IAPSO do?

IAPSO has the prime goal of 'promoting the study of scientific problems relating to the oceans and the interactions taking place at the sea floor, coastal, and atmospheric boundaries insofar as such research is conducted by the use of mathematics, physics, and chemistry.' IAPSO works mainly through 1) biennial scientific assemblies; 2) working groups; 3) commissions; 4) services and 5) website information. Of special importance to IAPSO is the involvement of scientists and students from developing countries in oceanographic activities.

IAPSO maintains formal liaison with other scientific commissions and committees. These include the ISC's Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), and UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

IAPSO is the international body that is responsible for the scientific standards in our field of ‚ÄėPhysical Sciences of the Oceans‚Äô. This aspect of IAPSO activity is reflected in the IAPSO Best Practice Study Groups (see below). The remit of the IAPSO Best Practice Study Groups includes software and analysis procedures, and this is broader than the traditional remit of IAPSO which has concentrated its standards activity on the measurement of salinity and the calculation of the thermophysical properties of seawater.


Executive Committee for 2023-2027

Trevor McDougall (Australia), having completed his term as President, now becomes Past President. It is a pleasure to thank Trevor for his leadership over the past four years and I welcome his help and guidance over the next four years. Stefania Sparnocchia will not continue for another term as Secretary General. I deeply thank her for the tremendous work she has done for IAPSO. Silvia Blanc (Argentina) will take over from Stefania and I am looking forward to work with her. Ken Ridgway (Australia) will continue as Treasurer for 2023-2027.

The two Vice Presidents for 2023-2027 are Agatha de Boer (Sweden) and Toshiyuki Hibiya (Japan). Juliet Hermes (South Africa), Yukio Matsumoto (Japan), Jae-Hun Park (Republic of Korea) and Peter Zavialov (Russian Federation) continue as a member of the executive. New members of the executive are Regina Rodrigues (Brazil), Joellen Russell (USA), Alejandra Sanchez-Franks (UK) and Malin √Ėdalen (Germany, chair of the IAPSO Early Career Scientist (ECS) Working Group, see below).

Denise Smyth-Wright has been long-standing member of the IAPSO Executive Committee (26 years, including a term as President), and we thank her for the valuable service. Also leaving the committee in July 2023 were Edmo Campos and Christa von Hildebrandt-Andrade, and they are sincerely thanked for their many contributions to IAPSO.

The IAPSO Executive Committee membership for 2023-2027 is then as follows:


President: Hans van Haren (the Netherlands)

Past President: Trevor McDougall (Australia)

Secretary General: Silvia Blanc (Argentina)

Treasurer: Ken Ridgway (Australia)

Vice-Presidents: Agatha de Boer (Sweden)

                           Toshiyuki Hibiya (Japan)


Members: Juliet Hermes (South Africa)

                 Yukio Masumoto (Japan)

                 Jae-Hun Park (Republic of Korea)

                 Regina Rodrigues (Brazil)

                 Joellen Russell (USA)

                 Alejandra Sanchez-Franks (UK)

                 Peter Zavialov (Russian Federation)

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Malin √Ėdalen (Germany, ECS)


IAPSO Activity in 2022/23


During 2022 and early 2023 much IAPSO activity was focused on planning for the IUGG 2023 General Assembly held in Berlin, Germany, from 11-20 July, 2023. The IAPSO scientific sessions included 7 IAPSO symposia and 6 IAPSO-lead Association Joint symposia. IAPSO also co-sponsored 13 Joint symposia led by another Association. The 28th IUGG General Assembly attracted approximately 5000 participants, of which about 410 registered as IAPSO, some 15% more than in Montreal 2019. There were many quality presentations and much networking in the corridors. IAPSO is very grateful to the conveners for their extraordinary efforts both before and during the Assembly.


Prince Albert I Medal


A highlight of the Berlin Assembly was the awarding of the Prince Albert I Medal to John Church, Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia, who gave his medal lecture entitled "What do we really know about 20th and 21st Century sea-level change?‚ÄĚ. John is the twelfth recipient of this medal. An official call for nominations for the 2025 Prince Albert I Medal will be made towards the end of 2024 and I encourage IAPSO members and the international oceanographic community to start thinking about possible future candidates. The guidelines can be obtained from the IAPSO website (


Early Career Scientist Medal


During the Berlin IUGG General Assembly IAPSO awarded its ECS Medal in Physical Oceanography to Dr. Malte Stuecker, University of Hawai Ľi at MńĀnoa, USA. He gave an impressive talk on "New Perspectives on El Nino‚Äôs Central Role in the Global Climate System". The IAPSO ECS Medal in Chemical Oceanography was not awarded because of lack of nominations. For future IAPSO ECS-medals, starting in 2025, I encourage IAPSO members and the international oceanographic community to start thinking about possible future candidates, especially also for the ECS-chemical oceanography medal. New in the guidelines will be the possibility of self-nominations for ECS-medal candidates.


Eugene Lafond Medal


IAPSO also awarded the Eugene Lafond Medal, to a developing world scientist who gave a notable presentation at an IAPSO sponsored or co-sponsored symposium. Following the procedure, presentations (oral or poster) of self-nominating candidates were attended by a subset of the IAPSO Executive Committee. The 2023 Eugene LaFond Medal was awarded to Dr. Helenice Vital, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal Brazil, for her oral presentation "SeabedMap Project - Sensing, integration and analysis of digital information in marine geological mapping, Brazilian equatorial margin".  This presentation was delivered on July 17, 2023 within the IAPSO Session “Bringing Scientific and Technological Ocean Information Together for Advancement of Sustainable Development in the Framework of the UN Ocean Decade" in Berlin, Germany.


IAPSO Early Career Scientist Working Group


After its establishment during the 2019 Montreal meeting, the IAPSO ECS Working Group fared very well during the past four years. To date, about 500 young scientists have subscribed to their mailing list, which can be reached via their active website This website includes an opportunity for posting job-positions and the oceanographic community is invited to take advantage of this easy accessible and well distributed possibility for job-advertisement. Since 2023, the IAPSO ECS is chaired by Malin √Ėdalen (Germany).



An important IAPSO activity is participating in the yearly evaluation of SCOR-working group proposals. Being a member of the SCOR Executive Committee, the IAPSO president reports during the annual meeting, the first upcoming one is to be held in Guayaquil Ecuador, 17-19 October 2023.    


IAPSO Best Practice Study Groups


Since 2019, IAPSO funds Best Practice Study Groups (BPSG). The IAPSO BPSG are meant to be somewhat less formal than the SCOR-working groups and intend to bring together scientists once a year to think about an issue that, when resolved, will assist in the conduct of oceanographic research. In carrying out oceanographic research, a choice must frequently be made between a few options for measuring data, analyzing data, processing software, or modelling a system. The reasons for choosing between competing methods are often not well documented and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the options are usually not published or well known. Each BPSG will receive up to US$12,000 towards the costs of a meeting. The aim is to fund one of these per year, and calls for proposals are sent out bi-annually. Sofar, four proposals have been granted, on moored CTD measurements, seawater pH measurements, tidal analysis, and the mapping of ocean heat content and thermosteric level. Unfortunately, partially because of the pandemic some BPSG have not fared very well. During the 2023 Berlin meeting actions have been suggested to revive these BPSG. The next call for IAPSO BPSG will be posted in October 2023. 


The next IAPSO Assembly ‚Äď Busan 20-25 July 2025


IAPSO is now organizing the IAPSO-IMAS-IACS Joint Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea, from 20-25 July 2025. This will be a joint assembly between us oceanographers, atmospheric researchers, and the ice research community. A first planning meeting was held in Berlin, involving IAPSO, IAMAS and IACS officers. Information about the conference will be posted at The IAPSO Executive Committee welcomes suggestions for symposia and for offers to act as convener. Please send these to Silvia Blanc, our Secretary General (


The next IUGG General Assembly 2027


The 29th IUGG General Assembly will be held in Incheon, Republic of Korea, 12-22 July 2027.

With very best wishes, 

 Hans van Haren



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