Online Training Courses on Operational Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting Systems: Improving Knowledge and Skills, Enhancing Collaboration and Making Operational Oceanography End-to-End

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the Expert Team on Operational Ocean Forecasting System (ETOOFS), Mercator Ocean International and the Ocean Teacher Global Academy (OTGA) have successfully co-organized two online training workshops on Understanding the Benefits of Operational Ocean and Forecasting Systems (‘Awareness Workshop’), 14-16 June 2021 and on Implementing an Operational Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting Systems (‘Hands-on Workshop’), 22-24 June. Operational Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting System products are used and of benefits to maritime navigation, harbour management, search and rescue, coastal disaster risk reduction, coastal environmental management, oil spill response and management, as well as blue economy activities.

In his opening remark, the IOC Executive Secretary, Dr Vladimir Ryabinin, underscored that the training is symbolic at the start of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. There is a need to unite and move forward with combined capacity and opportunity offered by the Decade and have operational oceanography end-to-end across the value chain. GOOS Director, Albert Fischer, said that he hoped participants would have a good overview of OOFS and be inspired to develop some practical tools and apply the training in their own context and issues. Denis Chang Seng, IOC Proramme Specialist supporting the coordination of ETOOFS and training highlighted that GOOS Office plans to establish an international expert network on OOFS to further encourage knowledge exchange and promote collaboration on OOFS. Pierre Bahurel (Director of Mercator International, France), and Enrique Alvarez Fanjul (Head of Physical Environment Department en Puertos del Estado, Spain) current chair and vice-chair of ETOOFS were instrumental in supporting the training. ETOOFS experts provided lectures and interactively engaged with participants.

Benefits and applications of OOFS

The two trainings attracted over 272 participants globally. 172 participants from 65 countries participated in the Understanding the Benefits of Operational Ocean and Forecasting Systems (‘Awareness Workshop’). 36 % of participants wished to broaden their knowledge and skills on OOFS. 17 % were interested in networking and collaboration, 13% were interested in the management of ocean science programmes, 11 % were interested set up or strengthen regional ocean forecasting system,  9% were interested in improving the University curriculum, 6 % were interested in enhancing decision making, 4% develop own research institutes, and 4% were interested in developing end-user products.

The training courses aimed to give the attendees a general understanding of Operational Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting Systems (OOFS), demonstrate the current practices for ocean monitoring and forecasting systems and strengthen the implementation of new OOFS. The second training gave the attendees the vision of the entire value chain of a centre operating an Operational Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting Systems (OOFS), from the system to the interface with users, and to share experience around practical exercises on important choices linked to the implementation of an OOFS.

An OOFS booklet was prepared to help promote the two online training courses among interested experts. It is a summary of the comprehensive Technical Guide on Operational Ocean Forecasting Systems. A technical Guide on Operational Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting System with core chapters on: ocean circulation, sea level and storm surge modeling, wave modeling, sea ice modeling, biogeochemical modeling, coupled modeling , products and services and future perspective on ocean modeling is under preparation and is expected to be published by mid-2022.

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