Operational oceanography in service of sustainable marine development




The 8th International EuroGOOS Conference Operational Oceanography Serving Sustainable Marine Development started in Bergen to day. The Directors of the two local host organizations opened the conference, 

Director Sebastian H. Mernild, NERSC.Director Sebastian H. Mernild, NERSC.

respectively, Sissel Rogne, Institute of Marine Research, and Sebastian H. Mernild, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center. In their welcome remarks, they both emphasized the strong tradition, experience, and knowledge in operational oceanography in Norway and the contributions from the two institutions in the foundation of EuroGOOS back in 1994. The 8th EuroGOOS Conference will present a European community that utilises ocean observations to produce high-quality assessments of the past, current, and future state of the oceans.

Some 120 scientist, technologists, managers, and stakeholders are gathered for three days in Bergen in order to present and discuss state and developments in operational oceanography in resent years. The conference program includes presentations covering the marine information value chain, from data collection, to processing and modeling including data assimilation, as well as services to users, managers and policy advice. The focus of this year EuroGOOS conference is on operational oceanography for the service of sustainable marine development, with particular focus on the Arctic Oceans.

In his introductory speech Dr. Erik Buch, Chairman of the EuroGOOS Board of directors, gave an overview of the EuroGOOS strategy for 2014 to 2020. EuroGOOS shall identify priorities, enhance cooperation and promote the benefits of operational oceanography to ensure that sustained observations are made in Europe’s seas, underpinning a suite of fit-for-purpose products and services for marine and maritime end-users. Their goals should be realised through setting priorities, promote the needs, facilitate cooperation, providing services, and contribute to sustainable development.

Major progress has taken place in European operational oceanography whithin recent years. Enhanced networking and cooperation among ocean observing and data aggregation initiatives have been encouraged by development of the European Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) and associated activities. Through Copernicus satellite Earth observation, data covering a wide range of products are provided with global and frequently repeated coverage. Several marine research infrastructures now provide robust, timely, and quality assured data to the operational oceanography and wider scientific and stakeholder communities. However, sustainable long-term commitments for regular ocean observations are still not fully secured. The polar oceans also receives more attention in the coming years through the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) and projects including the European Commission’s H2020 Integrated Arctic Observations System (INTAROS) project, lead by the Nansen Center, which focuses on Arctic observing systems. In coastal seas, there is significant activity to raise the technology readiness of key observing technologies, to enhance predictions in coastal areas, to incorporate more routine collection of biogeochemical measurements, and to provide better services to users in all European seas. Acoustic technologies have developed rapidly in recent years and are increasingly used in operational oceanography. Through shared efforts, the collected data from many institutions will be made available in order to meet societal, policy, and economic needs.

The EuroGOOS international conference takes place every three years. The conference provides a forum for a broad range of implementers and users of operational oceanography services, including marine scientists and technologists, private companies, and policymakers. The conference reviews the state of the art in ocean monitoring and forecasting capacities and oceanographic services, and identifies new science and technology priorities. It facilitates dialogue, experience sharing and future planning with both European and international partners and stakeholders, towards a more coordinated response to global challenges and societal needs related to seas and oceans.