2016 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 and facilitate a smooth transfer of funds from the IAPSO bank account in Sweden to a new account in Australia. IAPSO finances will be consolidated there in the near future.

There have been no formal IAPSO Executive business meetings in 2016; business has been conducted by email and video conference where appropriate.


2017 Assembly
The principal activity during 2016 was the preparation of the Joint IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Assembly to be held in Cape Town South Africa, from 27 August - 1 September, 2017. The President and the Secretary General have been active in the planning process and participated in several video conference and a site visit 16-18 May, 2016. During this visit, the Presidents and SGs of the 3 organizations were introduced to the conference organizers and shown around the venue and attractions. A preliminary list of sessions was drawn up and finalised during two video conferences. Details of the assembly can be found at http://www.iapso-iamas-iaga2017.com.

SCOR Administration
IAPSO has maintained its formal relations with SCOR during the year. It has been involved in the evaluation of the 2016 Working Group proposal to be funded by SCOR in the next years. President, Denise Smythe-Wright participated in the SCOR Annual Meeting in Sopot, Poland, 5-7 September 2016. One important issue during the meeting was the decision about which working groups to fund.

G7 initiative
In November 2015, the Secretary General of IUGG, Alik Ismail-Zadeh, requested the President of IAPSO, Dr Denise Smythe-Wright to instigate an initiative in response to the marine science issues raised by the G7 Science Ministers in the communiqué arising from their meeting in October 2015. The G7 countries have outstanding oceanographic capabilities and are well-placed not only to continue to provide world leadership in marine environmental research, but also to use the research outcomes for their wider socio-economic benefit. Realising that this was not just an IAPSO initiative, she approached Professor Peter Burkill, President of SCOR at the time and together they mustered fourteen international experts to address the following issues:

• Marine Litter
• Ocean Acidification
• Biodiversity Loss
• Deoxygenation
• Ocean Warming
• Ecosytem degredation
• Deepsea mining

The resulting report - Future of the Ocean and its Seas: a non-governmental scientific perspective on seven marine research issues of G7 interest, was completed in April 2016 and submitted to the Science Ministers prior to their meeting in Japan, May 2016. A copy of the report can be found at http://www.icsu.org/news-centre/news/pdf/Report%20to%20G7%20SMins%20on%20FOSs.pdf.

At their meeting in Tsukuba the Science Ministers proposed a way forward and the lead for this was taken by the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills (UK BIS) working with the UK National Oceanography Centre and a working group with representatives of all G7 countries was set up. A follow up meeting of this Working Group was held at the National Oceanography Centre in November, 2016. The focus of the work is on observations and while IAPSO-SCOR are not formally part of this initiative the President of IAPSO is keeping a close eye on events to ensure that IAPSO-SCOR input continues, if appropriate.
[See http://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/others/communique_en.html for further details of the G7 communiqué]

IUGG/IAPSO support to scientific meetings
IAPSO endorsed three scientific meetings that were supported by IUGG in 2016:

  • The workshop "Arctic Subarctic Ocean Flux Study" (ASOF) was held on 30-31 March 2016 in Lerici, Italy, and was dedicated to the challenges associated with observing, modeling, understanding, and predicting heat exchanges between the Subarctic and the Arctic, in both the atmosphere and the ocean. The workshop addressed the questions: Where are we? What do we know? and What needs to be done? In addition, the workshop featured other contributions relevant to ocean fluxes between the Arctic and Subarctic seas. Three early-career scientists benefited from IUGG funds to attend the workshop that gathered 26 participants and 21 presentations.
  • The 48th International Liège Colloquium on Ocean Dynamics took place from 23 to 27 May, 2016, in the Academic Room of the University of Liège (ULg). Every year the Colloquium addresses a cutting-edge topic in Ocean Science with the goal to foster discussions and collaborations amongst scientists from all around the world. The 48th edition was devoted to "Submesoscale Processes: Mechanisms, Implications and new Frontiers" and was a success with 200 participants from over 40 countries, 72 oral presentations, 8 keynote talks and 143 posters. IUGG funds helped the participation of an early career researcher from Chile.
  • The Conference "A connected ocean" – the challenge of observation data integration, held in Brest, France, on 11-12 October 2016. The Conference has been the first opportunity to gather two scientific communities: the "Ocean Engineering Society" OES of IEEE, and the IAPSO of IUGG. The sessions covered four themes: 1) Interoperability standards for the marine environment, 2) Multimodal synergies in ocean studies, 3) Big Data infrastructure and analytics in ocean science, 4) Biological rates, upwelling: new autonomous approaches and integrated observations. It gathered 182 participants. IUGG funds were used for a partial support of the participation of one invited Ivorian speaker working in Brazil.

IAPSO sponsored activities:

  • Commission on Mean Sea Level and Tides (CMSLT), President: Gary T. Mitchum. Vice-President: Simon Holgate. Website: www.psmsl.org/
  • Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level, hosted by Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, UK. Director: Dr. Lesley Rickards. IAPSO Liaison: Philip L. Woodworth. Website: www. www.psmsl.org/
  • IAPSO Standard Seawater Service, hosted by OSIL, Havant, Hampshire, UK. Director: Richard Williams; Website Website www.osil.co.uk
  • Joint Committee on the Properties of Seawater, JCS (with SCOR and IAPWS). Chair: Rich Pawlowicz. Vice-Chairs: Trevor McDougall, Rainer Feistel. Website: http://www.teos-10.org/
  • IAPSO/IASPEI/IAVCEI Joint Tsunami Commission. Chair: Dr. Vasily V. Titov. IAPSO Representative: Efim Pelinovsky. Website: www.iaspei.org/commissions/JCT.html
  • The working groups, commissions and services report to IAPSO. These reports are published on the IAPSO website http://iapso.iugg.org/working-groups

IAPSO Liaison Officers and IUGG Commission Correspondents:
The Liaison Officers and Correspondents to Commissions and Committees for 2015-2019 are as follows:

  • UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC): Stefania Sparnocchia (Italy) and Eugene Morozov (Russia)
  • ICSU Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR): Denise Smythe-Wright (UK)
  • ICSU Regional Office for Africa (ROA): Isabelle Ansorge (South Africa)
  • Climatic and Environmental Changes (CCEC): Harry Bryden (UK)
  • Mathematical Geophysics (CMG): Adam Monaham (Canada)
  • Geophysical Risk and Sustainability (GRC): Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade (USA)
  • Data and Information (UCDI): Ira Didenkulova (Estonia)
  • Working Group on History (WGH): John Gould (UK)


James J. O'Brien (1935-2016)

IUGG Fellow James J. O'Brien, Professor Emeritus of Meteorology/Physical Oceanography in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science at Florida State University (FSU), died peacefully on 20 September 2016 at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital from complications following open heart surgery. Prof. O'Brien, the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Oceanography, founded the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies at FSU. He served as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1958 to 1960, promoted to the rank of Captain. He took advantage of the Air Force's financial assistance and training to earn both his Masters (1964) and Ph.D. (1966) degrees in Meteorology at Texas A&M University. He is internationally known for mentoring young scientists, and under his guidance, 44 students completed their Ph. D. degree and over 80 students completed their M.S. degree. He was particularly proud of his success in dramatically increasing the number of women scientists in oceanography and meteorology. Once nicknamed "Dr. El Niño", he was a pioneer in using early supercomputers to model atmospheric and oceanic interactions which led to new breakthroughs in understanding and prediction of coastal upwelling, El Niño, La Niña, and hurricane effects on the ocean. Prof. O'Brien served as the President of the International Association for Physical Sciences of the Oceans (IAPSO), from 1987 to 1991, and retired in December 2006 after 38 years at Florida State. He will be sadly missed by the oceanographic community.

The main activity involving IAPSO in 2017 is the IAPSO-IAMAS-IAGA Joint Assembly "Good Hope for Earth Sciences", Cape Town, South Africa, from August 27 to September 1. With the help of 45 IAPSO-related scientists 15 symposia have been organised, covering a wide range of IAPSO's topics, 8 of them jointly with IAMAS and IAGA. We are planning to hold the IAPSO EC meetings on 28 and 29 August and on 1 September. The IAPSO General Business Meeting will be held on August 31. During the third EC meeting, the Eugene LaFond Medal Committee will report on the selection of the ocean scientist from a developing country awarded in 2017. On August 31, Distinguished Professor Lynne Talley, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA, will be awarded with the Prince Albert I Medal 2017, and will deliver her Albert I Memorial Lecture.
The Joint Assembly program details and other relevant information can be found on the website: http://www.iapso-iamas-iaga2017.com/.

Further activities in 2017 are the following IUGG/IAPSO sponsored meeting, selected for support in 2016:

  • IndOOS Review Workshop, Perth, Australia, 30 January-1 February 2017, which goal is to review the sustained Indian Ocean Observing System, conceived 10 years ago. In particular the workshop aims to review its design, to consider its failures and successes, and to propose a way forward in the context of new scientific frontiers and observing technologies.
  • Past Antarctic Ice Sheet (PAIS) conference, Trieste, Italy, 10-16 September 2017, a programmatic conference of the PAIS Geoscience SCAR Research Programme. The aim is to offer the opportunity for cross disciplinary exchange of information among specialists with different fields of expertise, about their recent scientific results and about knowledge gaps.
  • THEMES 2017 workshop, Venice, Italy, 29 November-1 December 2017. This will be the third edition of the workshop, aiming to discuss, within the broad community including oceanography, meteorology, climatology, marine ecology, and, more generally, marine environmental sciences, actual topic related to the comprehension of marine (eco)systems.

pdfReport to IUGG 2016 


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