News and Announcements

TOS NEWS — February 4, 2019                          

> News Archive

1. Message from TOS President, Martin Visbeck 

Many of us are accustomed to meeting with colleagues at annual or biennial scientific conferences such as the Ocean Sciences Meeting. However, there is something very special about convening once a decade to celebrate progress made over the past ten years and to discuss ambition and opportunities for the next decade. The OceanObs’19 conference (16-20 September 2019) is one such event, and TOS is proud to be sponsoring this effort.

The OceanObs’19 conference is a community-driven conference. That means it is our conference organized by those contributing to and benefitting from (sustained) ocean observing. Our ocean observing system is constantly growing in capability and is serving an increasing number of scientific and societal needs. The first conference, OceanObs’99, articulated an open ocean observing system focusing on the global scale and largely covered the physical domain. Programs such as Argo, basin-scale hydrography (today GO-SHIP) and the moored buoy networks in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans (TAO and PIRATA), as well as global satellite altimetry were at the center of the discussion. OceanObs’09 expanded the ambition to include ocean chemistry and a few elements of ocean biology. It also became clear that a more systematic and strategic approach was needed to advance ocean observing and the Framework for Ocean Observing was developed post conference and supported by the sponsors.

OceanObs’19 has articulated an even grander ambition. We want to make sure that the developments of the ocean observing system are fully responsive to user needs and that international partnerships, platforms, and increased benefit sharing will be realized. Moreover, there is a need to revisit and possibly refine the governance arrangements for ocean observing recognizing the importance and opportunities for increased coordination at the basin scale. 

Over that last few months, the conference organizers have solicited input from the community in the form of Community White Papers. These documents will help shape strategy development throughout the conference and for the upcoming decade. The conference will revolve around 10 vital societal benefit themes and the conference objectives. Additional input can be given at the conference by presenting a poster, participating in discussions, and holding topical workshops associated with the conference in Hawaii.

I encourage you to engage, learn more about the conference, and see how its objectives align with your own research interests. If you plan on attending, please note that the early registration (at a reduced rate) as well as the poster abstract submission deadline is March 1, 2019. More information is available here. I stand ready to respond to questions, suggestions or concerns that you might have about the conference, while at the same time I am sure that TOS membership will engage and see value in this community-based approach. 

2. TOS Council Election Results

The TOS Council election has concluded and we are pleased to welcome the following new Council Members:

Andone Lavery, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Richard Crout, Naval Research Lab

Geological Oceanography
Amelia Shevenell, University of South Florida

Student Representative
Christina Hernández, MIT/WHOI Joint Program

A full list of TOS Council members and officers is available here.

3. Munk Award Nominations due March 31st

Nominations for the Walter Munk Award recognizing excellence in distinguished research in oceanography related to sound and the sea are due March 31. Details on the nomination procedure are available here.



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


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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