2017 IAPSO Activities 


IAPSO has the prime goal of 'promoting the study of scientific problems relating to the oceans and the interactions taking places 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 ICSU's Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), and UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
For more information see http://iapso.iugg.org/.


The 2015-2019 Bureau of IAPSO comprises:
President: Denise Smythe-Wright, (UK)
Past President: Eugene Morozov, (Russia)
Secretary General: Stefania Sparnocchia (Italy)
Treasurer: Ken Ridgway (Australia)

The Executive Committee comprises the Bureau members and
Vice-Presidents: Dr Isabelle Ansorge (South Africa)
Trevor McDougall (Australia)
Dr Agatha de Boer (Sweden)
Dr Hans van Haren (The Netherlands)
Prof Toshiyuki Hibiya (Japan)
Dr Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade (USA and Puerto Rico)
Dr Chris Meinen (USA)
Dr Satheesh Chandra Shenoi (India)

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 and in July, 2015 a new IAPSO page was created in the Facebook social network, with the aim of facilitating the spreading of information in the community (see https://www.facebook.com/iapso.iugg.org). Together with the President, the SG also prepares and distributes a bi-annual Newsletter to IAPSO delegates and interested parties.

Financial management is presently split between Australia and Sweden. The previous Secretary General, Johan Rodhe, was co-opted by the IAPSO executive to assists the Treasurer, Ken Ridgway, with day to day banking until the Assembly in Montreal, Canada, in 2019.

IAPSO business meetings were conducted in August 2017, during the Joint IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Scientific Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa. These included four meetings of the Executive Committee, on 28, 29 and 31 August and 1 September 2017, and one General Business meeting also involving National Correspondents or their Delegates on 31 August 2017. Other business has been conducted by email where appropriate.


2017 Assembly
Three of IUGG's constituent Associations, IAPSO, IAMAS and IAGA, met for a Joint Scientific Assembly entitled "Good Hope for Earth Sciences" in Cape Town, South Africa, during the week 27 August - 1 September, 2017, The Assembly had a total of 1038 registrations from 64 different countries, although there were 57 'no-shows' despite being paid up.. About 230 registered as IAPSO scientists. The LOC secured a number of registration fees for participants from Africa plus 8 registration fees for participants from other countries. In addition 48 delegates from countries other than Africa where supported directly by IAPSO, including 9 members of the Executive Committee and the Albert I Medal winner. In detail, 42 registration fees were awarded (34 by IAPSO and 8 by LOC) plus 26 fees for lodging on IAPSO funds. 54% of the funds allocated to countries other than Africa have been granted to allow scientists to participate from other developing countries.

The Assembly's opening day was marked by a joint plenary session with a lecture from each Association. The plenary lecturer for IAPSO, Dr Essam Yassin Mohammed (United Kingdom), emphasized the importance of investing in the blue economy, discussing the why and what of investing in marine and coastal ecosystems. A range of critical services were discussed, from fishery production to flood protection, from recreation and tourism to ecosystem-based adaptation and carbon storage. Yet such services are rapidly degraded by pollution, overfishing, climate change and habitat destruction. Dr Mohammed stressed the need for greater investment to be directed towards conserving, restoring and enhancing marine ecosystems and also presented some innovative financing mechanisms.

Each Association offered a broad programme of lectures and posters, organized in parallel sessions. IAPSO organised 6 IAPSO symposia (107 oral presentations and 59 posters), 3 IAPSO-lead Association-Joint symposia (89 oral presentations and 43 posters). In addition IAPSO co-sponsored 5 Joint symposia lead by another Association (88 oral presentations and 29 posters).

On Thursday 30th August each association hosted their medal awards. IAPSO presented the Prince Albert I Medal 2017 to Prof Lynne Talley (United States) and the Eugene LaFond Medal 2017 to Dr. Jonathan Durgadoo from Mauritius.

Prof. Talley, awarded for her seminal contributions to our understanding of all ocean basins, including landmark discoveries in the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern Oceans, delivered the Albert I Memorial Lecture "A case for sustained observations of the ocean: observing the overturning circulation and its variability".

Dr. Durgadoo was awarded for his oral presentation "Indian Ocean sources of Agulhas leakage", delivered within the IAPSO-IAMAS joint symposium "The Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) and related oceanic and coupled Atmospheric research in the Indian Ocean".

Next Assemblies
In September 2017 President Denise Smythe-Wright and SG Stefania Sparnocchia participated in the IUGG EC meeting and the SPC meeting (SS only) in Montreal, Canada. Most important was the planning of the IUGG General Assembly 2019.

Following a discussion during a meeting on August 31, 2017, the IAPSO EC voted for Busan, Republic of Korea to host the next Joint Assembly with IAMAS and IACS in 2021. These associations had also reached the same decision so the next venue will be in Busan.

SCOR Administration
IAPSO has maintained its formal relations with SCOR during the year. The EC members have been involved in the evaluation of the 2017 Working Group proposal to be funded by SCOR in the next years. President, Denise Smythe-Wright participated in the SCOR Annual Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, 4-6 September 2017. While much of the business centered around reports from current SCOR working groups and affiliated organizations, substantial time was devoted to the evaluation of five working group proposals submitted for the 2017 round of funding. The IAPSO President presented the IAPSO views alongside those of other organizations and after robust discussion it was decided to fund three proposals:
FLOTSAM - a plan to address the problem of floating litter in the open ocean at the global scale by disentangling coastal processes, with their short timescales, from the open ocean low frequency processes.
EBUS – this will focus on the integration of existing knowledge of eastern boundary upwelling systems to formulate recommendations for setting up regional observational systems and climate modeling approaches to monitor and understand physical and biogeochemical ocean-atmosphere interactions.
P-OBS – a proposal to identify methods and technologies that can be incorporated into large-scale sampling programmes.

IUGG/IAPSO support to scientific meetings
IAPSO endorsed three scientific meetings that were supported by IUGG in 2017:

  • The IndOOS Review Workshop was held from 30 January to 1 February 2017 in Perth, Australia. It consisted of 24 review presentations along three themes: Past and present of IndOOS; new scientific drivers in the Indian Ocean; and new technologies for future IndOOS, as well as two discussion sessions charged with identifying the scientific drivers of IndOOS and their observing requirements. The last day of the workshop was dedicated to discussion sessions to outline the science drivers and observing requirements of IndOOS, to lead towards a framework for the IndOOS review white paper. Two scientists from USA benefited from IUGG funds to attend the workshop that gathered 36 participants.
  • The Past Antarctic Ice Sheet (PAIS) conference was held from 10 to 16 September 2017 in Trieste, Italy. It was attended by 210 scientists and students from 18 countries. More than half the participants were early career researchers and graduate students. 62 oral presentations took place in a single plenary session, which ensured cross-disciplinary participation and each day finished with a facilitated open plenary discussion. 130 posters were up all week. The conference show-cased the latest advances in the current state of Antarctic ice sheet and sea-level science and identified future research gaps and priorities for the next phase of the SCAR Research Programmes. IUGG funds were used to support travel, accommodation and registration expenses for an early career scientist and a student from India.
  • The workshop "THEMES 2017 - Physics and biogeochemistry of marine environments: multiscale analysis of past and present variability" took place in Venice, from 15 –17 November, 2017. The workshop brought together more than fifty climatologists, ecologists, oceanographers, and modelers to discuss the present state of knowledge and the opportunities for progress about measuring, modelling and predicting marine environments. The workshop entailed nine sessions and 52 talks, including four solicited talks by prominent international scientists. Two evening discussion sessions and a closing open discussion paved the way toward improved cooperation between the different groups active in the climatological, ecological and oceanographic investigation of our Planet. IUGG funds were used to support travel of the four participants from Croatia, France, Italy and Spain.

Prof. emeritus Walter Heinrich Munk of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Prof. Munk is arguably the most distinguished living oceanographer, and one of the founding fathers of modern Physical Oceanography. His innumerable contributions to our field are milestones in the evolution of Physical Oceanography during the last fifty years. He pioneered wartime wave forecasting, tide prediction, ocean sound transmission, ocean circulation, deep-sea tides and much more. His talk at the last IUGG General Assembly in 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic, attracted the attention of the entire geophysical community. He has received numerous national and international medals and awards, including IAPSO's first Albert I Medal in 2001.

IAPSO scientist Dr. Christopher Michael Duncombe-Rae a Specialist Scientists in physical oceanography and data management in the Oceans and Coast branch of the Department of Environmental Affairs, in Cape Town, passed away unexpectedly on October 11, 2017, while on a flight from South Africa to the USA.
His research interests included the ocean and shelf environment of Marion island a Subantarctic island south of Africa and the Benguela and Agulhas ecosystems, he participated in many research cruises in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans and recently had turned his attention to data stewardship and marine information systems, leading South Africa in the development of its Marine Information Management System (MIMS).
He was coordinating the South Africa's IIOE-2 planning committee and was also one of the co-convenors of the international symposium on "Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) and related Oceanic and Coupled Atmospheric Research in the Indian Ocean which was organized alonside the IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Joint Assembly in Cape Town from 27 August to 1 September, 2017.
Dr Duncombe-Rae is survived by his wife, Dr Deidre Byrne, who is also an ocean scientist and his11 year-old son Jacob. He will be sadly missed by the oceanographic community.

An important initiative over the next year is the development of an IAPSO Early Career Scientists (ECS) network. In December 2017, the President invited expressions of interest in setting up such a network and three suitable candidates were identified at the end of January 2018 and have been asked to take the initiative forward.

Other activities in 2018 are the following IUGG/IAPSO sponsored meetings, selected for support in 2017:

  • 2nd IndOOS Review Workshop, Lombok, Indonesia, 22-23 March, the final workshop of international experts aiming to review the sustained Indian Ocean Observing System (http://www.clivar.org/indoos-review-2006-2016) and to propose a way forward in the context of new scientific frontiers and observing technologies. It is co-sponsored by WCRP, US CLIVAR, OOPC, IMBeR, IOC Perth Office, IOGOOS.
  • Understanding the Problems of Inland Waters: Case Study for the Caspian Basin (UPCB), Baku, Azerbaijan, 12-14 May, a conference aimed at strengthening the exchange of international scientific cooperation on the Caspian Sea, the Aral Sea and the Urmia and Van Lakes, all remnants of the ancient sea of Paratethys. It is co-sponsored by ECOSF, COMSTECH, BP, IFS, AEHMS.
  • X Jornadas Nacionales de Ciencias del Mar, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 30 July-3 August, a regional conference encompassing marine science abroad, bringing together local scientists and invited foreign experts.

© Copyright © 2022 IAPSO. All Rights Reserved.

We use cookies
This website uses only technical cookies to ensure optimal navigation. See the cookie policy for more information.