The IPCC climate reports' cousin: The CMEMS Ocean State Report!

The IPCC reports are well known and focus on the Earth's climate with all its facets, but have you heard about the ocean equivalent? Changes in the ocean have wide-reaching implications for the climate and life on Earth, so monitoring these changes and being able to make predictions of future changes is crucial.

CMEMS1 releases an Ocean State Report every year. Everyone can find the reports and short summaries online. They are useful for the public interested in the ocean, businesses, as well as stakeholders and policy-/decision-makers in Europe. Each report sums up the trends and unusual events in the global ocean and the European Seas in the past year, compared to the recent past. The comparison period is 1993-2016, because researchers have been investigating the ocean intensely since the early 90’s, using global satellite observations and measurements taken directly in the ocean (in-situ data).

Who makes use of these reports?

The EU and international policies and initiatives use information from CMEMS and the Ocean State Reports. The reports provide a solid basis and have a wide range of applications from maritime safety and ship routing over combating pollution to climate monitoring and forecasting. In Norway for example, the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet) is one of the bodies following indicators from the reports on a regular basis.

“If oceans are these “old friends” that you have not seen in a while and you wonder how they are doing, then the Ocean State Report allows you to catch up and get quality-checked information about their health. NERSC plays an active role in gathering and summarizing the information for the Arctic Ocean, and sometimes other “friends” as well”, says Laurent Bertino, the manager for CMEMS work at NERSC.

What is covered in the reports?

They present three categories each year:

  • The blue ocean and its physical properties - sea surface temperature, sea level, currents, waves, winds, and other physical parameters
  • The green ocean and its biogeochemical activity - nutrient concentration and ocean acidification, among other biological and biogeochemical aspects
  • The white frozen ocean - thickness, volume, and extent of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and in the Baltic Sea

YouTube video by CMEMS, summarizing the key findings of Ocean State Report, Issue 5. Clicking on the image redirects you to the video.YouTube video by CMEMS, summarizing the key findings of Ocean State Report, Issue 5. Clicking on the image redirects you to the video.

Alarming trends of this year’s report

The report covers important aspects of ocean research, summarizing the state of our oceans. Several alarming trends are described in the report and outlined below. But the report does not just outline alarming trends, it also introduces new tools and technologies that can be used to further improve monitoring the ocean, which can aid us in addressing the problems our oceans and us are facing.

Nansen Center contributions to the reports

Roshin P. Raj (OSIRS group) co-authored a section of this year’s report, addressing the White Ocean. Raj and his co-authors focused on how much sea ice and fresh water is being transported from the Arctic Ocean southwards to the Nordic Seas and the Barents Sea. Monitoring this process is important as it influences regional ocean currents and how much sea ice remains in the Arctic. They looked almost 30 years back in time to see how the sea-ice volume being transported south has varied over the past decades, and their model results show that each winter, the transport is at its highest.

The reports use satellite and in-situ data as well as model results from the early 90’s to present, all produced by CMEMS. The Nansen Center is one of the CMEMS providers. What we supply are the Arctic forecasts and hindcasts available on the CMEMS website, and our research and products have been used for the Ocean State Reports since 2016.

We have contributed to all Ocean State Reports so far, both by writing sections and by providing data. Several of our researchers are involved in the Arctic forecasts and reanalyses:

  • Production: Jiping Xie, Tsuyoshi Wakamatsu, Timothy Williams
  • Developments and Validation: Annette Samuelsen, Roshin P. Raj, Anton Korosov, Çaglar Yumruktepe, Einar Ólason
  • Management: Laurent Bertino

Authorship in the past Ocean State Reports:

5th report, 2021:

  • Roshin P. Raj

4th report, 2020:

  • Laurent Bertino, Anton Korosov
  • Johnny A. Johannessen (editorial board)

3rd report, 2019:

  • Roshin P. Raj, Çaglar Yumruktepe 

2nd report, 2018:

  • Roshin P. Raj, Annette Samuelsen
  • Johnny A. Johannessen (editorial board)

1st report, 2016:

  • Roshin P. Raj, Annette Samuelsen, Einar Ólason


1The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) is the ocean component of Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth Observation Program and its scope covers the past decades until today’s real-time forecast. CMEMS is being implemented by Mercator Ocean international (MOi). MOi has several international shareholders, including the Nansen Center. Together with MET Norway, the Institute for Marine Research, and the Norwegian Polar Institute, we are involved in the leadership of CMEMS.



Karina von Schuckmann ((Editor)), Pierre-Yves Le Traon ((Editor)), Neville Smith (Chair) ((Review Editor)), Ananda Pascual ((Review Editor)), Samuel Djavidnia ((Review Editor)), Jean-Pierre Gattuso ((Review Editor)), Marilaure Grégoire ((Review Editor)), et al. Copernicus Marine Service Ocean State Report, Issue 5, Journal of Operational Oceanography 2021, 14:sup1, 1-185, DOI:

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