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GOV International School / Background


Operational Oceanography consists of providing an accurate description of the state of the oceans including its living resources, providing continuous forecasts of the future conditions of the oceans, and assembling data sets that can provide data for descriptions of past states. This requires systematic and long-term routine measurements of the oceans. At the heart of operational oceanography forecasting systems are numerical models that allow to describe the 4D ocean. To make prediction models reliable, it is necessary to assimilate frequently updated measurements. These data come from satellite observations and from in situ observations. Satellite altimetry in particular, is an invaluable aid in the observation of the oceans. In situ observations provide also access to the subsurface ocean. Today, multi-platform observing systems allow to characterize ocean state and variability at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Data assimilation is needed to improve the consistency between data and numerical model simulations, to dynamically interpolate and extrapolate heterogeneous measurements. Outputs from numerical models are used to generate data products. Examples of products include ocean currents, ocean climate variability, climatology and seasonal weather forecasting, warnings (of coastal floods, ice and storm damage, harmful algal blooms and contaminants, etc.), ship routing, prediction of seasonal or annual primary productivity, sustainable use of fishing resources, search and rescue operations, etc. The final products and forecasts are distributed to industrial users, government agencies, and regulatory authorities.

Operational Oceanography has been developed widely in recent years in Europe (through several European projects), within the GMES/Copernicus program and in parallel with the development of observing systems. In Europe, the main operational oceanography centers are Mercator-Océan (Toulouse), INGV (Italy), NERSC (Norway), MetOffice (UK), FCOO (Denmark) and SOCIB (Spain). Worldwide, several operational oceanography centers have also been developed such as BlueLink in Australia or HYCOM/NRL in the US. Finally, at the international level, the GODAE OceanView organization coordinates and lead comparison and validation exercises all existing projects in ocean forecasting in the world. This includes Education & Training activities that are seen as essential since the lasting legacy of GODAE OceanView will result from investment in educational activities. The next generation of scientists should be trained in order to be able to advance real-time ocean forecasting and the design and implementation of ocean observing systems.

This international school is one of the main educational activities supported by GODAE OceanView. The event then is planned to take place in Mallorca, Spain in Fall 2017 under the auspices of IMEDEA and SOCIB. IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB) is a joint research center overseen by the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB).
SOCIB (Balearic Islands Observing and Forecasting System) was born from IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB) in 2010. SOCIB is an internationally open scientific and technological infrastructure devoted to the monitoring and forecasting of the coastal and open ocean for the study of variability at small, medium and large temporal scales as well as to provide hindcasts and forecasts for marine operations.