TOS Ocean Observing Team Award


Achieving meaningful advancements in ocean observing requires the contributions of many scientists and technical experts. The Oceanography Society will recognize these efforts through the TOS Ocean Observing Team Award, presented biennially to a team for innovation and excellence in sustained ocean observing for scientific and practical applications. The award will be presented to a team of at least six but fewer than twenty members.

The nomination period is now open and submissions are due by November 15, 2023. All nominations must be submitted using the online system.


A breakthrough in the design, installation, implementation, and use of sensors, platforms, systems, strategies, and/or programs that have led to transformative applications of ocean observing data/information for the advancement of scientific knowledge and/or meaningful societal impact.

These contributions may be demonstrated by:

  • The inclusion of engineers, data scientists, early career professionals, and/or students in the advancement and implementation of observing system elements and/or their application in operations
  • Significant inter- and multidisciplinary activities and lasting contributions by demonstrated sharing of best practices and the implementation of interoperable data streams



  • Active membership in The Oceanography Society is not required at the time of nomination.
  • TOS officers and members of the Council are not eligible for selection during their terms of service.
  • Nomination is for a team from any country or countries, ideally with international participation. Self-nominations are allowed.
  • If selected, nominees must certify their compliance with all TOS policies, specifically the Professional Integrity, Ethics, and Conduct and Guidelines on Implementation.



  • Supporters are not required to be TOS members.


All nominations are submitted through the online submission system and must include the following elements:


  • Please suggest text that may be edited to appear in news releases and on a certificate presented to the recipient. The text of this citation should be 200 characters or less.


  • Teams must comprise at least six representative members. Nominated team members should span the range of expertise/activities (i.e., not just team leadership). A curriculum vita (five pages maximum) for each of six representative members must be submitted. The curriculum vita must include the representative team member’s name, professional mailing and email addresses, research experiences, and major contributions and service to the community.
  • A description of the team’s accomplishments (five pages maximum) should span the range of important contributions addressing the Ocean Observing Team Award criteria. In addition, oiginal impacts in highlighted areas of sustained observations should be documented. Contributions to relevant innovations, technologies, networks, and facilities may be documented by citing community syntheses or project reports in addition to scientific journal articles, patents, and data sets within this five-page report.


  • The nomination letter can be a maximum of two pages and must include the name, title, affiliation, and contact information for the nominator or co-nominators.
  • The letter should succinctly describe why the team is suited to receive the award, highlight their accomplishments, and elaborate on any information that is not specifically addressed in the nomination materials.


  • At least two but not more than three individuals may provide support for the nomination. These individuals are in addition to the nominator or co-nominators. Supporting letters are capped at one page in length and must include the supporter’s name, title, and contact information, relationship to the nominee, and clear justification for the qualifications of the nominee.
  • A fillable PDF is available here. After completion, the form may be sent directly to the nominator for inclusion with other nomination materials.



For transforming our understanding of Atlantic circulation with a breakthrough in observing system design providing continuous, cost-effective measurements

The Oceanography Society (TOS) congratulates the members of the RAPID/MOCHA/WBTS 26°N team on their selection as the inaugural recipients of the TOS Ocean Observing Team Award. This award recognizes innovation and excellence in sustained ocean observing for scientific and practical applications and the citation on the team’s certificate recognizes them for transforming our understanding of Atlantic circulation with a breakthrough in observing system design providing continuous, cost-effective measurements.

The Selection Committee noted that this international team has sustained a core array of moorings across the Atlantic at 26 deg. N for more than 16 years, monitoring changes in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). This involved collaborative work between scientists and engineers to calibrate, deploy, and maintain a large suite of in-situ instrumentation and to innovate and trial near real-time telemetry technologies for deep ocean observing. The group included a large number of students and postdocs, and collaborations with other disciplines, for example including biogeochemical sensors to couple water transports with estimates of carbon and nutrient fluxes. Their key findings are proving transformative, e.g., that: 1) AMOC varies on timescales of days to a decade, rather than decades to centuries as previously assumed, 2) Wind-forcing (rather than buoyancy forcing) plays a dominant role in AMOC variability. The team showed that previous attempts to define secular trends in AMOC from occasional ship-based cruises were biased by aliasing of this highly variable system. This program and its results have thus transformed approaches to ocean data acquisition toward targeted continuous high-resolution in-situ measurements and have motivated (and advised on) the development of other coordinated mooring-based observatories. The RAPID/MOCHA/WBTS 26°N team has contributed to open data access and helped to establish community best practices, for example through the Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS) hosted by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

The current members of the RAPID/MOCHA/WBTS 26°N team are

  • Eleanor Frajka-Williams, National Oceanography Centre, UK
  • William E. Johns, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, USA
  • Molly O. Baringer, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, USA
  • David Smeed, National Oceanography Centre, UK
  • Ben Moat, National Oceanography Centre, UK
  • Denis Volkov, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, USA
  • Darren Rayner, National Oceanography Centre, UK
  • Adam Houk, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, USA
  • Alejandra Sanchez-Franks, National Oceanography Centre, UK
  • Elaine McDonagh, National Oceanography Centre, UK & Norwegian Research Centre, Bergen, Norway
  • Harry Bryden, University of Southampton, UK
  • Paul Provost, National Marine Facilities, National Oceanography Centre, UK
  • Julie Collins, British Oceanographic Data Centre, National Oceanography Centre, UK
  • Ulises Rivera, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, USA
  • Rob MacLachlan, National Marine Facilities, National Oceanography Centre, UK
  • Pedro Pena, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, USA
  • Emma Worthington, University of Southampton & National Oceanography Centre, UK

In addition to the above, the numerous past members of team who have contributed to the observing system since its initial deployment in 2004 are acknowledged.


If you have any questions about the the TOS Mentoring Award, please contact Jenny Ramarui, TOS Executive Director.

Background photo credit: Nico Marin/Ocean Image Bank

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