2019 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 (2019-2023) was renewed in July 2019 during the IUGG General Assembly in Montreal. It comprises:

President: Trevor McDougall (Australia)
Past President: Denise Smythe-Wright (UK)
Secretary General: Stefania Sparnocchia (Italy)
Treasurer: Ken Ridgway (Australia)

The Executive Committee comprises the Bureau members and
Vice-Presidents: Agatha de Boer (Sweden)
Hans van Haren (The Netherlands)
Edmo Campos (Brazil)
Juliet Hermes (South Africa)
Yukio Masumoto (Japan)
Jae-Hun Park (Republic of Korea)
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.

IAPSO business meetings were conducted in July 2019, during the IUGG General Assembly in Montreal, Canada. These included three meetings of the Executive Committee, on 8, 9 and 14 July, and one General Business meeting (GBM) also involving National Correspondents or their Delegates on 11 July. In this last meeting the election of new Executive Committee Members for 2019-2023 took place and changes to the IAPSO Statutes for the introduction of electronic voting were approved. Day-to-day business has been conducted by email where appropriate.


2019 Assembly and Awards
The principal activity during the year was participation in the 27th IUGG General Assembly in Montreal, Canada, from 8-18 July, 2019. The Assembly attracted about 4,000 participants from 94 countries, 346 of them registered as IAPSO. The Scientific Program consisted of 234 symposia and workshops, with 558 sessions in total. Among more than 4,500 presentations at the General Assembly were 9 Union lectures, 437 invited presentations, 2,329 oral presentations, and 1,814 poster presentations.

The IAPSO scientific sessions were held from 9-14 July and included 11 IAPSO symposia (216 oral presentations and 94 posters) and 5 IAPSO-lead Association Joint symposia (111 oral presentations and 51 posters). IAPSO also co-sponsored 12 Joint symposia led by another Association (189 oral presentations and 104 posters). The program details can be found on the Assembly's website: http://www.iugg2019montreal.com/p.html. There were many quality presentations and much networking in the corridors.

IAPSO highlights during the assembly included
● the Union Lecture 'The Ocean's Role in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Changes During Ice Age Cycles' given by Prof. Karen Kohfeld (Simon Fraser University, Canada);
● the Prince Albert I, 2019 lecture 'Decadal variability in the ocean CO2 sink' given by Prof. Corinne Le Quéré (University of East Anglia, United Kingdom), who was awarded the Prince Albert I Medal in connection with the lecture;
● the ECS Medal in Physical Oceanography, 2019 talk 'Overturning variability with observations' given by Gerard McCarthy (Maynooth University, Ireland);
● the ECS Medal in Chemical Oceanography, 2019 talk 'Nitrogen fixation across scales' given by Mar Benavides (Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography, France). 

Prof. Le Quéré, Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Benavides at the Medal Award Ceremony, Montreal, July 12, 2019.

 IAPSO also awarded the Eugene Lafond Medal to a developing world scientist who gave a notable paper 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 Eugene LaFond Medal, 2019 was awarded to Mr. Rohith Balakrishnan, for his oral presentation 'Basin-wide sea level coherency in the tropical Indian Ocean driven by Madden-Julian oscillations'. This was given on July 11, 2019 within the IAG-IAPSO joint symposium 'Monitoring Sea Level Changes by Satellite and In-Situ Measurements'.

Mr. Rohith Balakrishnan on being awarded the Eugene LaFond Medal by IAPSO Past President Denise Smythe-Wright, Montreal, July 15, 2019.

Prof. Philip L. Woodworth was awarded the IUGG Honorary Membership for his for his significant advancement of sea-level science and outstanding contributions to international scientific cooperation, and especially his leadership of the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL).

A first planning meeting was held in Montreal, involving IAPSO, IAMAS and IACS officers for the organization of the Joint Assembly in Busan, South Korea, from 18-23, July 2021. Information about the conference will be posted at www.baco-21.org.

IAPSO Best Practice Study Groups
IAPSO sent out a call (in early September 2019) to fund Best Practice Study Groups. These will address an issue that, when resolved, will assist in the conduct of oceanographic research. Often in carrying out research, a choice must be made between options for measuring data, analysing 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 these routes not published or well known. Each IAPSO Best Practice Study Group will receive up to US$10,000 towards the costs of a meeting. We expect to fund one of these per year.

IAPSO received nine proposals, and the five members of the evaluation committee felt that most of these were of a very high calibre and deserving of funding. However, we were only able to fund two in this first round and the selected proposals are:

  • Best Practice Study Group on moored CTD measurements
  • Best Practice Study Group to identify approaches to be recommended for seawater pH measurement

SCOR Administration
IAPSO has maintained its formal relations with SCOR during the year. The EC members were involved in the evaluation of the 2019 Working Group proposals and the President, Trevor McDougall attended the 2019 SCOR Annual Meeting in Toyama, Japan, 23-25 September 2019. While much of the business centred around reports from current SCOR working groups and affiliated organizations, substantial time was devoted to the evaluation of six working group proposals submitted for the 2019 round of funding. The IAPSO President presented the IAPSO views alongside those of other organizations and after robust discussion it was decided to fund two proposals:

IUGG 100 years anniversary
IAPSO has contributed to various initiatives of the IUGG which have been implemented recently. They include:
● the implementation of a website that traces the history: http://100.iugg.org/index.php;
● the publication of the special issue of History of Geo- and Space Sciences (HGSS), 'The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics: from different spheres to a common globe', https://www.hist-geo-space-sci.net/special_issue996.html, including the paper 'IAPSO: tales from the ocean frontier', https://www.hist-geo-space-sci.net/10/137/2019/;
● the event 'Centennial International Cooperation in Earth and Space Sciences at the UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, 29 July 2019, program: http://100.iugg.org/events/IUGG_program_Paris_Jul_29_2019.pdf.
The Guest of Honour was HMSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and he made reference to the work of his great great grandfather who was the first President of IAPSO and he applauded IAPSO's work. In turn Denise Smythe-Wright was able to thank him personally for his support of IAPSO and the IAPSO Prince Albert I medal.

HMSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and the IAPSO Past President Denise Smythe-Wright at the event 'Centennial International Cooperation in Earth and Space Sciences at the UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, 29 July 2019.


IAPSO Early Career Scientist Working Group
Established during 2018, the IAPSO Early Career Scientist Working Group had its first networking event on 9 July, 2019, in Montreal. About 30 young scientists participated. The website https://www.iapsoecs.org/, is active for scientists who are interested in the IAPSO Early Career Scientist Network, managed by the Working Group. For becoming a member of the Early Career Network, people can register at the website The ECS Network is also available on Twitter (@iapso_ecs). The Working Group is chaired by Alejandra Sanchez-Franks (United Kingdom) and co-chaired by Malin Ödalen (Sweden/USA) and its Term of References are available on the IAPSO website (http://iapso.iugg.org/working-groups.html).

Malin Ödalen, Kay McMonigal and Casimir de Lavergne giving the opening welcome at the ECS networking event, Montreal, July 9, 2019. 

Joint Committee on the Properties of Seawater (JCS)
The Joint SCOR/IAPWS/IAPSO Committee on the Properties of Seawater (JCS) is a permanent group with limited membership whose purpose is to act as an international "point of contact" for seawater questions. It supports and promotes research activities related to the properties of seawater (field, lab, numerical) and is chaired by Rich Pawlowicz (Canada) and co-chaired by Rainer Feistel (Germany), and Steffen Seitz (Germany). The committee is jointly sponsored by organizations directly concerned with the properties of seawater: the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam, and the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Ocean.
An update of its activities was presented to the IAPSO GBM in Montreal by Rich Pawlowicz who showed the impressive distribution of TEOS-10 resources to the community. Workshops on Salinity/density, pH, RH and Future of JCS, attended by ~16 participants each, were held at the 17th international Conference on the Properties of Water and Steam (ICPWS 17). 

Commission on Mean Sea Level and Tides (CMSLT)
The IAPSO Commission on Mean Sea Level and Tides (CMSLT) aims to support research into applications of sea level measurements. In addition to sponsoring meetings, the CMSLT is the body that the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level formally reports to. The CMSLT has always had a policy of considering as members any researchers who express interest in the topics of mean sea level and tides. It is chaired by Gary Mitchum (US).
The Commission met on July 13, 2019 in Montreal, for the review of PSMSL, whose report and work were appreciated. The meeting also endorsed suggested future PSMSL activities. There was some discussion of protocols for incorporating into data banks sea level data recovered from historical records and the general consensus was that this should be examined by a working group. A reconstitution of the commission was also discussed. This will be formally initiated by the IAPSO President, in consultation with the present chair Gary Mitchum. This reconstitution could potentially include the development of a set of new activities. Suggestions from the meeting included: Tides, Extremes, Data archaeology, sea level technology and GPS/GNSS applications. Reconstitution would also entail renewing membership and encouraging new members with an interest in the CMSLT portfolio of activities.

Tsunami Commission (Joint with IASPEI and IAVCEI)
The IUGG Tsunami Commission (IUGG/TC) is an Inter-Association Commission responsible for international coordination of tsunami related meetings, research, and publications. It is jointly sponsored by IASPEI, IAPSO and IAVCEI and was established at the 12th General Assembly of IUGG in Helsinki, Finland in 1960 to promote the exchange of scientific and technical information about tsunamis.
The IUGG/TC membership comprises an international group of scientists concerned with various aspects of tsunamis, including an improved understanding of the dynamics of generation, propagation and coastal run-up and the consequences to society of the tsunami hazard. During IUGG 2019 the board was renewed and the current officers are, Chair: Yuichiro Tanioka (Japan); Vice-Chairs: Maria Ana Baptista (Portugal), Diana Greenslade (Australia), Alexander Rabinovich (Russia); Secretary: Mohammad Heidarzadeh (Iran/UK).
In 2019, members of the Tsunami Commission actively participated in the organization of numerous tsunami sessions at AGU, EGU, AOGS. It should be noted that tsunami sessions at these meetings have recently been amongst the largest suggesting that the interest in tsunami research remains to be strong. Numerous regional and national workshops and conferences have also been organized and participated in by the Commission members, such as the National Tsunami Conference in Russia on May 16-17, 2019 entitled "Tsunamis: modeling, monitoring and forecasting", and the First World Conference on Meteotsunamis, Split, Croatia, 8-11 May 2019.

Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL)
The Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) is the internationally recognised global data bank for long-term sea level data and also provides a wider Service to the sea level community. The PSMSL was established in 1933 by Joseph Proudman who became its first Secretary. Since then, the PSMSL continues to be responsible for the collection, publication, analysis and interpretation of sea level data. It is hosted by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) with funding provided by the UK Natural Environment Research Council. PSMSL reports to several bodies which operate under the auspices of the International Science Council (ISC). During 2019, the direction of the service passed from Lesley J. Rickards (UK) to Elizabeth Bradshaw (UK).
General activities include responding to requests for information from national tide gauge agencies, decision makers, the media, members of the public; involvement in training courses, supporting small island states; development of products and code (Prototype automatic quality control of tide gauge data).
In 2019 PSMSL received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 EuroSea project to create an international archive to preserve and deliver Global Navigation Satellite Systems Interferometric Reflectometry (GNSS-IR) data and to integrate these data with existing sea level observing networks.
Andy Matthews attended OceanObs'19 where we focused on ongoing efforts to ensure distributed data follow the FAIR data management principles (i.e. making data findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable).
In September 2019 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published the special report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, which made use of the PSMSL dataset.

IAPSO Standard Seawater Service
The IAPSO Standard Sea-Water Service is the only internationally recognized standard for the calibration of salinity measurement devices. Its widespread use over 100 years of IAPSO history has been of great importance to the quality and comparability of salinity data worldwide. Since 1989 IAPSO has established an agreement with the Ocean Scientific International Limited (OSIL) for the production and supply of ampoules of standard sea-water to the oceanographic community thorough this IAPSO service.
The demand for IAPSO standard sea water remains strong and OSIL have continued to invest heavily in the upkeep and replacement of the equipment necessary to operate and produce the standards. The Service is currently contributing to groups globally involved with the S.I. traceability relating to density. Significant steps have been made towards producing a density standard in terms of the stability of the sea water inside a unique coated bottle.


 The following activities are scheduled for 2020 and beyond:

• Organization of the next Joint Assembly with IAMAS and IACS in Busan, Republic of Korea, in 2021.
• Workshop on Sea level Data Archaeology, IOC/UNESCO, Paris, France, 10-12 March 2020.
The workshop is convened under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and its Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS), and co-sponsored by the IHO Tides, Water Level and Currents Working Group (TWCWG) and the IUGG/IAPSO (http://www.ioc-unesco.org/index.php?option=com_oe&task=viewEventRecord&eventID=2567).
• Tsunamis in Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Developments and Plans for the Future, Quito, Ecuador, 3-5 August 2020 (http://www.lacsc2020.com/).
• Tsunami Session at EGU, Vienna, Austria, May 4-8, 2020, https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2020/session/34852.
• National Tsunami Conference in Russia on June 16-17, 2020 titled "Tsunamis: modeling, monitoring and forecasting", http://ocean.phys.msu.ru/tsu_conf/ (in Russian).

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