2021 IAPSO Activities


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). 
For more information see http://iapso.iugg.org/.


The IAPSO Bureau and the Executive Committee were renewed in July 2019 during the IUGG General Assembly in Montreal. Two additional members were added to the Executive Committee in 2020 after online election and one of them was replaced in 2021 (By Law n. 9-d).  

President: Trevor McDougall (Australia)
Past President: Denise Smythe-Wright, (UK)
Secretary General: Stefania Sparnocchia (Italy)
Treasurer: Ken Ridgway (Australia) 
Vice-Presidents: Agatha de Boer (Sweden), Hans van Haren (The Netherlands)
Members: Edmo Campos (Brazil), Juliet Hermes (South Africa), Rick Lumpkin (USA, until September 2021), Yukio Masumoto (Japan), Jae-Hun Park (Republic of Korea), Joellen Russell (USA, replace Rick Lumpkin from October 2021), Alejandra Sanchez-Franks (UK), Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade (USA and Puerto Rico), Peter Zavialov (Russia)

The IAPSO office is located at the Institute of Marine Science of the National Research Council of Italy, Trieste and day-to-day business is managed by Secretary General (SG), Stefania Sparnocchia. The SG is responsible for the IAPSO website. A page on the Facebook social network is also active with the aim of facilitating the spreading of information in the community (see https://www.facebook.com/iapso.iugg.org).

IAPSO finances are managed by the Australian-based Treasurer, Ken Ridgway.

The Executive Committee met online on 26 May 2021 and any other business was conducted by email and Zoom where appropriate. Among these, various meetings were dedicated to the visibility of IAPSO and in particular to the development of a new website (in progress).


Virtual Atmosphere-Cryosphere-Ocean seminar series (VACO-21), 19-23 July 2021 
The principal activity during the year was the organization of VACO-21, replacing our postponed joint assembly with IAMAS and IACS in Busan (South Korea). Rather than having a general call for abstracts, VACO-21 consisted of a reduced number of invited speakers.  The program was organized over 5 days from Monday 19 July to Friday 23 July 2021.  Over the week, 187 individuals joined the audience.  Recordings of the excellent presentations are available here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP3bCxu-NIgIlNmeoHgGxEQ/videos. IAPSO contributed with the talks of 4 invited speakers.  

2023 General Assembly 
The next General Assembly of IUGG, involving all of IUGG’s Associations, is scheduled for Berlin, 12-19 July 2023.  Organizational work began in July 2021 regarding the establishment of the Science Program Committee (SPC) and preliminary discussions on the program.

IAPSO Best Practice Study Groups
A call for IAPSO Best Practice Study Groups in the period 2022-2023 has been opened on 6 September, 2021. IAPSO received five high calibre proposals and two of them were selected by the evaluation committee:

  • Best Practice Study group for the systematic evaluation of mapping methods in reconstructing ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level    
  • Best Practice Study group on Tidal Analysis    

IAPSO Medals
Despite the cancellation of the Joint Assembly in 2021, IAPSO has decided to continue the activity of awarding its medals. Calls for the Albert I medal and ECS medals for 2021 were issued in 2020 and the medals virtually delivered during online events. Presentations in person are scheduled to take place during the IUGG General Assembly, Berlin, July 2023.

  • The Prince Albert I Medal 2021 was awarded to Prof. Carl Wunsch, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physical Oceanography, Emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in recognition of his groundbreaking contributions to the development of modern physical oceanography. The Award Ceremony was held online on Monday 19 July 
  • The IAPSO Early Career Scientist Medal 2021 in physical ocean science was awarded to Dr. Thomas Wahl, University of Central Florida, USA, in recognition of his fundamental contributions to the research on changes in mean sea level, tides, storm surges, waves, and their interactions.
  • The IAPSO Early Career Scientist Medal 2021 in chemical ocean science was awarded to Dr. Jessica Fitzsimmons, Texas A&M University, USA, in recognition of her contributions to advances in the analysis, distribution and cycling of trace elements in the oceans, particularly iron.

Dr. Wahl and Fitzsimmons presented their talks on Wednesday 21 July during VACO-21 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOI6VGp93HY, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytrP3JAlFT0). 

SCOR Administration 
IAPSO President Trevor McDougall attended the virtual SCOR Annual Meeting in October 2021.  The many subsidary body of SCOR were reviewed and memberships renewed.  Many of these bodies coordinate physical, biogeochemical and fisheries research in the global ocean.  Three new SCOR working groups were selected for funding, each receiving sufficient funds for three annual face-to-face meetings.  


Early Career Scientist Working Group
Throughout 2021, IAPSO ECS worked to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion efforts during upcoming IUGG assemblies, as well as within the IAPSO ECS community. A new committee member, Mujeeb Abdulfatai, was recruited to strengthen the team for this effort. For the VACO21 week, the IAPSO ECS committee organised a virtual interactive career event, with two invited speakers sharing their experiences and providing advice on post-PhD career choices. The event was recorded and made available on the IAPSO ECS website (http://www.iapsoecs.org). The IAPSO ECS website continues to be a valuable resource for the network members, advertising events, jobs and other opportunities. The IAPSO ECS network now reaches over 230 members through the mailing list, and has over 400 followers on Twitter.

Joint Commission on Ice-Ocean Interactions (JCIOI, joint with IACS)
The IACS and IAPSO Joint Commission on Ice-Ocean Interactions (JCIOI) was formally established in January 2021, with the aim to facilitate community efforts to fill critical knowledge gaps in ice-ocean interactions. The primary focus of the joint commission will be on ice-ocean interactions in Antarctica and Greenland, including ice shelves, tidewater glaciers, icebergs, and melange dynamics. The Terms of Reference for JCIOI have been published, and will be made available via links on the parent organisation websites. JCIOI members are currently organising a workshop on ice-ocean interactions to be held in mid-late 2022.

Joint Committee on the Properties of Seawater (JCS)
JCS did not meet in person in 2021, but members continued work on tasks identified during the 2018 Workshops, as well as other items relevant to JCS. A virtual JCS meeting was held on 16 Nov 2021, comprised of three 2 -hour sessions devoted to Salinity/Density, pH, and Relative Humidity, with an average of 10 participants in each session. Progress was reported and participants suggested that the virtual meeting format should be repeated at least once a year.

Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL)
In 2021 PSMSL updated 633 stations with 1095 years of data. Our annual mean sea level data set was an integral component of the relative sea level change rates used in the IPCC AR6 projections of sea level change. PSMSL staff developed a web portal to display different sea level projections across the Caribbean Sea (https://psmsl.org/accord/projections.html), which can be used to support decision making on how to improve resilience and adapt to future changes. As part of the EuroSea project, PSMSL created a portal (https://psmsl.org/data/gnssir/) to distribute sea level data from over 250 Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers worldwide.

Tsunami Commission (Joint with IASPEI and IAVCEI)
In 2021, the Tsunami Commission organized the 30th International Symposium at Sendai in Japan using a hybrid meeting platform with in-person and online on July 1-3. More than 150 scientists were participated in the meeting. Members of the Tsunami Commission also actively participated in the organization of numerous tsunami sessions at EGU and AGU. It should be noted that tsunami sessions at these meetings have recently attracted a large number of audiences because of recent destructive events and new findings.

The following activities are scheduled for 2022 and beyond:

  • 18-20 May 2022, The Second World Conference on Meteotsunamis, Menorca, Spain. All information, including submission of abstracts and registration, may be found at the conference web pages at http://2cm-menorca.ime.cat/.  
  • Participation in the 28th IUGG General Assembly, July 11-20, 2023, at the at the Messe Berlin – City Cube, Berlin, Germany.

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