News and Announcements

TOS NEWS — May 1, 2019

> News Archive

1. Message from TOS President, Martin Visbeck 

Systematic Ocean Observing arguably started in the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe not because it is the most significant ocean basin, and certainly not the largest, but it is one that is surrounded by countries with ocean science pioneers who have studied this area for many decades. Still, observing in the Atlantic Ocean is based on a mix of sometimes unconnected observation systems often focused on a single issue (e.g., heat, fish, or carbon). While these efforts provided valuable contributions, several members of our community recognized the need to integrate these observing efforts to better address shared scientific questions, increasing demands for ocean information services, and wider societal needs for ocean information. A major step forward toward this goal was achieved in late March during the First International AtlantOS Symposium. I served as the coordinator of this event which hosted 170 participants from 29 countries, and am excited to share some of the major outcomes from this gathering:

– The All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System has now transitioned from an EU-funded project to an international programme.

– The AtlantOS Paris Declaration summarizes key point brought to AtlantOS by the delegates. Key elements of the declaration include:

  • Raising global awareness of the importance of the ocean and of fit-for-purpose ocean information for increased prosperity and sustainable management
  • Working to expand ocean observing, ocean forecasting, interdisciplinary research, innovative outreach, science ethics, early careers and ocean education training and capacity building
  • Ensuring that this Atlantic Ocean observing system is sustainably and adequately resourced
  • Realizing and foster ocean observing benefits through international collaboration, innovation, sharing of observing platforms, infrastructure and systems.
  • Sharing ocean data freely without restriction, grow interoperable data infrastructures.

The Atlantic Observing community has taken those steps and we look forward to making further progress on these goals and ocean observing governance during the upcoming OceanObs’19conference, which comes at a critical time to deliver consolidated ocean observing inputs to the UN Ocean Decade. Further information about the AtlantOS project can be found here 

2. Now Available Online: New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration – 2018 Field Season

New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: The E/V Nautilus, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, and R/V Falkor 2018 Field Season has just been posted. These publications provide details about the innovative technologies deployed to investigate the seafloor and water column and explain how telepresence can both convey the excitement of ocean exploration to global audiences and allow scientists as well as the public on shore to participate in expeditions in real time. View the supplement here!

3. Oceanography Moves to the CC BY 4.0 License

TOS is pleased to announce that, moving forward, Oceanography will be using the Creative Commons BY 4.0 license. This license will also apply to all past articles published in Oceanography. Look for changes to the Oceanography website related to this move in the coming weeks.

4. 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting: Connecting Art and Science

The 2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM) Planning Committee is seeking suggestions for displays that connect art and science at the OSM. TOS members who would like to get involved in this initiative can contact Jenny Ramarui, and will then be connected to the Planning Committee. Responses by June 1 would be appreciated.



TOS is making great strides toward fulfilling its mission as we grow to represent more members of the oceanographic community worldwide. Please invite your colleagues to join by forwarding them this link to the membership page. If you would like to support TOS initiatives and programs, please consider contributing by following this link.

Please contact Jenny Ramarui (, TOS Executive Director, with any questions about items in this message or your membership.

Community Announcements


UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Programme and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) are joining forces to:

Participate by sending a short video of a woman scientist highlighting her invaluable work in support of the conservation of the 49 marine sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The best films will be featured on World Oceans Day, 8 June 2019, at UNESCO HQ and through our social media worldwide. Deadline for submitting videos is Friday 10 MayDownload the guidelines here.

NASA/IOCCG workshop: Building consensus on protocols for contemporary aquatic primary productivity field measurements 

The NASA Plankon, Aerosol, Cloud, and ocean Ecosystem (PACE) project, in conjunction with the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG), European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), have initiated an aquatic primary productivity working group, with the aim to develop community consensus on multiple methods for measuring aquatic primary productivity used for satellite validation and model synthesis. A workshop to commence the working group efforts was held December 05-07, 2018 at the University Space Research Association headquarters in Columbia, MD U.S.A., bringing together 26 active researchers from 16 institutions. The group discussed the key differences, nuances, scales, uncertainties, definitions, and best practices for measurements of primary productivity derived from in situ/on-deck/laboratory radio/stable isotope incubations, dissolved oxygen concentrations (from incubations or autonomous platforms such as floats or gliders), oxygen-argon ratios, triple oxygen isotopes, natural fluorescence, and fast repetition rate fluorometry/electron transport rate/kinetic analysis. These discussions highlighted the necessity to move the community forward towards the establishment of climate-quality primary productivity measurements that follow uniform protocols, which is imperative to ensure that existing and future measurements can be compared, assimilated, and their uncertainties determined for model development and validation. The specific deliverable resulting from of this activity will be an active protocol document, published in coordination with ongoing IOCCG protocol series. Learn more about this activity and view presentations from the workshop on the working group’s webpage


Protocols for Ocean Colour Sensor Validation

In situ optical and biogeochemical in- and above-water measurements are critical for calibration and validation of satellite ocean colour radiometry data products, and for refinement of ocean colour algorithms. During the SeaWiFS era, NASA commissioned the development of a series of ocean optical measurement protocols (see NASA Ocean Optics Protocols for Satellite Ocean Color Sensor Validation) which have served as international reference standards ever since, and have promoted the collection and assembly of climate quality, ocean optical datasets by the global ocean colour community. Over the past few years NASA has sponsored several international workshops (sometimes in conjunction with IOCCG) with experts to update and develop new community consensus protocols for ocean colour sensor validation. Currently, three of these newly-drafted protocols are available to the international user community on the IOCCG webpage for a period of time for testing, public comment and review, before they are accepted as international reference standards:

1) Best practices for the Collection and Processing of Ship-Based Underway Flow-Through Optical Data (a revised version will be available after January 4th, 2019 for comment)

2) In situ Optical Radiometry (available now)

3) Beam Transmission and Attenuation Coefficients (available now)

Your input is important! Please see the IOCCG website for more details on how you can submit your comments regarding these documents.

We are also pleased to announce that the final version of the Absorption Coefficient Protocol, which provides a comprehensive overview of calibration, measurement and analysis protocols for the state-of-the-art technologies that measure the absorption of particles in the water or on a filter pad, is now available.


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