No. 19 - 2015-08-30: Letter of New President to NC and EC

No. 19 - 2015-08-30: Letter of New President to NC and EC
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Written by Denise Smythe-Wright, President IAPSO

OPEN LETTER No. 19 · 30 August, 2015


Dear IAPSO colleagues

At the last General Business Meeting of IAPSO in Prague on 29 June 2015, during the 26th General Assembly of IUGG, I had the honour of being elected as the new President of IAPSO. My appointment is a first for IAPSO as my background is more predominately in chemical rather than physical oceanography, although I have sat at the boundary for most of my career. As the new President I will continue IAPSO activities and traditions and endeavour to bring together the international oceanographic community.

I am writing this letter not only to introduce myself, but also to solicit ideas for the way forward. In recent years the subject of oceanography has become more interdisciplinary, in particular, when dealing with issues such as climate change and ocean acidification. Such a change was reflected in many of the sessions during the 26th General Assembly, when a wide range of talks covering physical and biogeochemical issues was presented. This has to be a positive step forward, but we must not be complacent, IAPSO needs to be more dynamic and in tune with the scientific issues of today.


Some years ago the Past President, Paola Rizzoli, instigated an IAPSO Newsletter and I would like to restart this with small pieces from Delegates as well as IAPSO, IUGG and SCOR News. Please start thinking about news items that you could submit. These could be about recent research findings in your country or research programmes that are upcoming or have been completed.

Executive Committee

My appointment as President was not the only change in the IAPSO Executive. Eugene Morozov, having completed his term as President, now becomes Past President, Johan Rodhe retired as Secretary General and Fred Camfield retired as Treasurer. Lawrence Mysak and Silvia Blanc also left the Executive committee, Lawrence having completed his four year term as Past President and Silvia after eight years of service. I would like to publically thank all these people for their work and devotion to IAPSO, collectively for over 60 years. Particularly to Johan and Fred who have worked tirelessly to keep the organisation running smoothly. Fred has been IAPSO's longest serving Executive member, having been Treasurer for 20 years, but will be matched by Eugene when he retires as Past President in 2019. It is a pleasure to thank Eugene for his leadership over the past four years and I welcome his help and guidance over the next four years.

As people leave, new Executive members join and I should like to extend a warm welcome to Agatha de Boer, Hans van Haren, Christa von Hildebrandt and Trevor Mc Dougall. Those existing members of the Executive who are remaining should not be forgotten and I should also like to thank Stefania Sparnocchia and Ken Ridgeway for stepping up to take on the roles of IAPSO Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Also thank you to Isabelle Ansorge for remaining as Vice-President and Toshiyuki Hibiya, Chris Meinen and Satheesh Shenoi for continuing for another term.

New Executive Committee for 2015- 2019

Following the efficient work of the nominations committee chaired by Lawrence Mysak, the 2015-2019 Executive Membership proposed and subsequently elected at the IUGG Assembly in Prague is as follows:

President: Denise Smythe-Wright (UK)

Secretary General: Stefania Sparnocchia (Italy)

Treasurer: Ken Ridgeway (Australia)

Vice Presidents: Isabelle Ansorage (South Africa) and Trevor Mc Dougall (Australia)

EC Members: Agatha de Boer (Sweden), Hans van Haren (Netherlands), Toshiyuki Hibiya (Japan), Christa von Hildebrandt (USA), Chris Meinen (USA), Satheesh Shenoi (india).

Prince Albert I Medal

A highlight of the Prague Assembly was the awarding of the Prince Albert I Medal to Toshio Yamagata, Emeritus Professor of the University of Tokyo and Director of the Application Laboratory, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). Toshio is the seventh recipient of this medal, which was awarded for 'His ground-breaking work and exceptional contribution to our understanding of El Niño/Southern Oscillation and the newly discovered Indian Ocean Dipole'. Following the Award Ceremony Toshio delivered a stimulating and entertaining lecture on his work and career. I should like to thank the members of the Award Committee who helped me make the selection and to all the nominators who proposed the candidates.

An official call for nominations for the 2017 Prince Albert I Medal will be made towards the end of 2016 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 (

The Eugene La Fond Medal

This is awarded to an early-career ocean scientist from a developing country and the 2015 medal was awarded to Sana Ben Ismail from Tunisia for her excellent oral presentation 'Surface circulation features along the Tunisian coast (Central Mediterranean Sea): the Atlantic Tunisian Current'. Using in situ and satellite data, combined with numerical modelling, Sana provided insight into the dynamics of the Tunisian branch of the Atlantic inflow and associated mesoscale features and instabilities. Her work is a step forward in the quantification of the exchanges between the Western and Eastern Mediterranean Sea and provides information in a poorly explored area of great societal interest.

Next IAPSO Assembly

The next IAPSO assembly will be held jointly with IAMA and IAGA 27 August – 1 September 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. The Executive welcomes suggestions for symposia and for offers to act as convener. Please send these to Stefania Sparnocchia, our Secretary General (

Relationship with SCOR

Finally, IAPSO has a close partnership with SCOR and as the President of IAPSO I sit on the SCOR Executive. Together with IOC, SCOR are sponsoring the second International Indian Ocean Expedition (2015-2020). To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the completion of the first Indian Ocean Expedition and the Golden Jubilee of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, there is an International symposium on the Indian Ocean in Goa, 30 November – 4 December, 2015, when I am sure much interesting science will be presented. I know a number of IAPSO members will be involved.

IAPSO has jointly sponsored a number of Working Groups with SCOR over the years and will continue to do so. In the next few months the IAPSO EC will evaluate 10 new proposals; details can be found on the SCOR website ( Ideas for working groups are welcomed by both SCOR and IAPSO and I urge IAPSO members to consider topics for support.

So to conclude, the Executive Committee would sincerely like to have your views on IAPSO and how we might improve its visibility. Please share this letter with ocean scientists in your country and encourage them to respond. I look forward to hearing from you.

Very best wishes,

Denise Smythe-Wright

President, IAPSO

National Oceanography Centre

European Way

Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom



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