IAPSO Newsletter No. 1.1 - March 2016

IAPSO Newsletter No. 1.1 - March 2016
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The IAPSO six-monthly Newsletter

Vol. 1 n. 1 (March 2016)

This is the first issue of our informal newsletter, released approximately every six months to keep IAPSO Members informed about the activities of the Association. IAPSO welcomes contribution from Delegates about recent research findings in their respective countries or details of research programmes that are upcoming or have been completed.

Please forward this message to those who will benefit from the information. Your comments and contributions are welcome (please write to iapso.sg@gmail.com).


In this issue

1. General Information about IAPSO

   1.1 Mission and ongoing Activities

   1.2 Prince Albert I medal

2. News from India: The launch of the second Indian Ocean Expedition

3. News from IUGG

   3.1 Working Group on History (WGH)

   3.2 Scientific meetings endorsed by IAPSO and selected for IUGG support in 2016

4. News from SCOR

5. Obituary

6. Contacting IAPSO




1. General Information about IAPSO

1.1 Mission and ongoing Activities

The International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans is one of the eight Associations of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), which, in turn, is one of the Unions of the International Council for Science (ICSU).

IAPSO promotes the study of the physical sciences of the oceans and the interactions taking place at the sea floor, coastal, and atmospheric boundaries by organizing international forums and publishing written materials for ocean scientists throughout the world.

Commissions, sub-committees, and workshops encourage new and advanced international research activities. In addition, IAPSO provides basic services such as the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level and the IAPSO Standard Seawater Service. IAPSO collaborates closely with UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and ICSU's Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR). An important part of the co-operation with SCOR is the formation of joint working groups.


Every two years IAPSO organizes Joint Assembly with IUGG and other Associations. The next Joint Assembly with IAMAS and IAGA will be held in Cape Town from 27 August- 1 September, 2017. The organization of this Joint Assembly is ongoing and progresses will be posted in the official website http://www.iapso-iamas-iaga2017.com/.


1.2 Prince Albert I medal

The Prince Albert I Medal is an award offered by the Foundation Rainier III of Monaco to a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to the enhancement and advancement of the physical and/or chemical sciences of the oceans. It is awarded every two years at the IAPSO General Assembly, to a most prominent scientist chosen by a specially appointed IAPSO Award Committee.

The recipients of the Medal since its inauguration in 2001 are: Dr. Walter Munk (2001), Dr. Klaus Wyrtki (2003), Prof. Dr. Friedrich Schott (2005), Dr. Russ Davis (2007), Prof. Harry L. Bryden (2009), Prof. Trevor McDougall (2011), Prof. Arnold L. Gordon (2013) and Prof.  Toshio Yamagata (2015).

The next medal will be awarded at the IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Joint Assembly, Cape Town (South Africa), 27 August - 1 September 2017.

A call for nominations will be launched by the IAPSO Secretary General one year prior to the Assembly. The term for sending nominations to the Secretary General is three months after the call.

See more on IAPSO and its activities at: http://iapso.iugg.org/

Stefania Sparnocchia, SG


2. News from India: The launch of the second Indian Ocean Expedition

The first, and arguably the most comprehensive international oceanographic endeavour focusing on the Indian Ocean to date, was the Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) of 1959-65. This saw forty-six research vessels under thirteen different flags carry out research on a multitude of themes covering almost the entire Indian Ocean basin. Commemorating the 50 years of completion of this global initiative, an International Symposium entitled ‘Dynamics of the Indian Ocean; Perspective and Retrospective’ was organized from the 30 November - 4 December, 2015 at the National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO), Goa, India. The Symposium was co-sponsored by CSIR-NIO, SCOR, IOC and the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. It provided an ideal forum for over 500 scientists and young researchers from 30 countries to present the results of their studies on the Indian Ocean, review the scientific progress that has been made over the past fifty years and to plan future research. A final session on the future IIOE served as a curtain raiser to the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) of 2015-20 (http://www.iioe-2.incois.gov.in).


IOE-2 inauguration photo Rajan Sivaramakrishnan 

Mrs Alina Saldanha, Minister of Science & Technology, Museums and Rural Development, Government of Goa, inaugurates the International Symposium “Dynamics of the Indian Ocean; Perspective and Retrospective” In Goa, 30 November - 4 December, 2015 

Co-sponsored by the IOC, SCOR and the Indian Ocean Global Observing System (IOGOOS), the initiatives under IIOE-2 seek to advance our understanding of the interactions between geological, ocean and atmospheric processes that give rise to the complex physical dynamics of the Indian Ocean region and to determine how those dynamics affect the climate, extreme events, ecosystems, and human population. Other goals include helping to build research capacity and improve the availability and accessibility of oceanographic data from the region.  Spearheading the Indian activities is the Ministry of Earth Sciences through its Hyderabad-based Research and Development Wing and the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS). The Centre also hosts one of the two nodes of a Joint Project Office (JPO) network, which will provide the co-ordination and secretariat support to IIOE-2 (the node being the UNESCO IOC Perth Programme Office (PPO), Perth). 

IIOE-2 was formally launched by Shri Y S Chowdary, India’s Minister of State for Science and Technology and the Ministry of Earth Sciences on the 4 December, 2015 at the concluding session of the Goa Symposium.   The Minister also flagged off the first scientific cruise of IIOE-2 on board the Indian Research Vessel Sagar Nidhi, from Goa harbour the same evening. The expedition led by Prof P N Vinayachandran of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and Dr. Satya Prakash of INCOIS, concluded in Mauritius on 22 December, 2015 after 18 days of sustained observations and data collection over the western Arabian Sea. Besides twelve scientists from seven Indian research institutions, there were participants from Mauritius, Israel, Singapore, Australia and the UK.


                            IOE-2 Flagging off the first cruise photo Rajan Sivaramakrishnan

Flagging off the first cruise of IIOE-2 on board the Research Vessel Sagar Nidhi by Mr. Y. S. Chowdary, Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India


The major goal of this multi-disciplinary scientific expedition was to understand the structure of the water masses in the western Indian Ocean along 67°E and to assess the difference in their characteristics with respect to observations made in the past. Underwater profiles of current, temperature, salinity, oxygen, light and chlorophyll were measured during the cruise. In addition, water samples were collected to a depth of 1000m for various chemical and biological analyses. Samples of zooplankton were collected using nets towed behind the stern of the ship. Analyses of the data collected are in progress.

Rajan Sivaramakrishnan (INCOIS, India) 


3. News from IUGG

3.1 Working Group on History (WGH)

The Working Group on history (WGH) was started in 2014 by IUGG and aims to highlight the progress made by the various Union Associations in the run-up to the IUGG’s centenary in 2019. The WGH ran a session at the IUGG meeting in Prague in 2015 (see the detailed report on the IAPSO website,http://iapso.iugg.org/images/stories/_working_groups/WGH/WGhistory2015.pdf).

The members of the WG (one from each association) will be working to highlight the progress in each of their disciplines, particularly through the development of website material and also through the recording of oral histories of influential scientists. 

I have collected together a list of as many oral histories as I can find online (http://iapso.iugg.org/images/stories/_working_groups/WGH/Oral%20histories%20ocean_v1.pdf)They cover many marine disciplines and are mostly of scientists born in the 1920s and 30s. Many have been compiled by Institutions (e.g. WHOI and SIO), others by professional or national organizations (e.g. The Institute of Physics and the British Library).  You could listen to the one by David Cartwright to see the kind of information that can be captured.

The past 20 years have seen a revolution in our ability to observe and understand the oceans and yet there are few oral histories recorded of scientists born in the 1940s and 50s. That is where I would like your help.  First, could you let me know of any oral histories that have been recorded, but do not appear in my list.  Second, I’d like your suggestions of influential people who helped shape marine science in the past two decades.  They may be scientists, engineers or lab directors/leaders.  Please send me your suggestions.  We will then start the task of finding organizations/resources to capture these people’s recollections of ‘How it all came about’.

John Gould (wjg@noc.soton.ac.uk), IAPSO representative to WGH  


3.2 Scientific meetings endorsed by IAPSO and selected for IUGG support in 2016

IUGG co-sponsors symposia and workshops appropriate to Union disciplines of study. For 2016, IUGG has allocated US$20,000 to assist 21 meetings in 17 countries of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, North America, and Oceania, especially to support the participation of young and female scientists and scientists from developing countries.

Officers of the Union, Associations and Union Commissions propose meetings to receive these awards. IAPSO endorsed the following meetings:

Source: IUGG Electronic Journal Volume 15 Number 12


4. News from SCOR

SCOR (Scientific Committee on Ocean Research) is an international non-governmental non-profit organization that focuses on promoting international co-operation in planning and conducting oceanographic research and solving methodological and conceptual problems that hinder research. It covers all areas of ocean science and co-operates with other organizations with common interests to conduct many SCOR activities.  IAPSO is a partner organization of SCOR and works closely alongside it; the President of IAPSO sits on the Executive Committee of SCOR.   

The 42nd annual meeting of SCOR took place 7-9 December, 2015 in Goa, following an International Symposium on the Indian Ocean and the launch of the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2). I attended in my role as President of IAPSO.  The annual meeting is primarily to discuss the activities of SCOR, in particular the progress of the funded working groups and other activities and to make decisions on new proposals.

Competition for funding of new proposals was strong this year with 10 proposals submitted, but SCOR could only afford to fund three. The IAPSO Executive Committee had considered these proposals prior to the meeting and submitted their comments.  The review process is open, with comments being received from national SCOR committees, partner organizations such as IAPSO and individuals.  Reviewers consider a wide range of factors in recommending proposals for funding, such as timeliness of the topic; whether the topic is priority for ocean science and for SCOR; whether a SCOR working group is a good mechanism to advance this topic; whether the terms of reference are appropriate, clear and achievable within the time and budget allowed;  and whether member ship of the group is appropriate to achieve the terms of reference and are balanced in terms of expertise, geography and gender.

The three proposal that were funded in 2015 were             

WG 148

International Quality Controlled Ocean Database: Subsurface temperature profiles (IQuOD)

WG 149

Changing Ocean Biological Systems (COBS): how will biota respond to a changing ocean?

WG 150

Translation of Optical Measurements into particle Content, Aggregation & Transfer (TOMCAT)


The IAPSO Executive Committee would like to encourage future submissions of proposals that are in line with the disciplines of ocean physics and chemistry. Please encourage your colleagues to do so. Recently SCOR has sent out the call for the 2016 proposals with a closing date of 17 April.  Details for submission can be found at http://www.scor-int.org/WG_Proposal_Instructions.docx.

Denise Smythe-Wright (UK), IAPSO President, IAPSO representative with SCOR


5. Obituary: David Cartwright F.R.S (21 October 1926 – 2 December 2015)


David CartwrightDavid Cartwright was a world expert on the ocean’s tides.

Initially recruited by Dr. George Deacon in 1954 to join the wave research group of the UK’s National Institute of Oceanography he moved into tide research and was the driving force behind the development of ocean bottom pressure recorders, the data from which led to the production of better tide prediction models. From 1974 to 1986 he was director of the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory at Bidston.

His life encompassed the new era of satellite altimeters and he played a major role in the use of these data. His many publication included his 1998 book ‘Tides - A scientific history’.  In 1979, 1985 and 1992, David led the compilation of pelagic tidal constants that were published by IAPSO.

In 2011 he recorded an oral history for the British Library, which can be found at


His funeral on 25 January, 2016 was a celebration of both his contributions to science and his love of music and of nature.

John Gould (NOC, UK) 


6. Contacting IAPSO

The Secretary-General is the main point of contact for all matters concerning IAPSO:

Dr. Stefania Sparnocchia

CNR - Istituto di Scienze Marine

Viale Romolo Gessi 2, 34123 Trieste, Italy

E-mail: iapso.sg@gmail.com


End of IAPSO Newsletter Volume 1 Number 1 (2 March 2016)

Edited by S.Sparnocchia (Secretary General)



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