Symposium themes


Operational oceanography transforms ocean observations and ocean models into assessment and prediction systems of ocean conditions. It requires sustained research, development and operational capacity.
How has operational oceanography evolved to date reviewing and reflecting on the status of international collaboration and governance, and how will it evolve in the future?

  • End to end systems operational oceanography systems
  • Enhancing community collaboration (observations, modelling, operations, users)
  • Future perspective and new frontiers on operational oceanography
  • GODAE and GOV legacy: overview of past achievements
  • International and intergovernmental collaboration
  • Operational Oceanography strategy, funding & sustainability
  • Scientific, economic and societal requirements of Operational Oceanography
  • Training and education
  • UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

Whether satellite or in-situ based, observations are both an essential ingredient and an evaluation benchmark for ocean prediction systems. Knowledge of present observing capacity, upcoming observations systems, and how observations can be better inter connected to ocean prediction work is essential for progress in operational oceanography.



  • Estimates of measurement errors
  • In-situ ocean observing systems
  • Integration of local/coastal measurements in the global observing system
  • International ocean observation projects (e.g. YOPP, TPOS2020, etc.)
  • New observation types
  • Observation impacts
  • Observation operators
  • Observation requirements and data stream
  • Observing system assessments (e.g. OSE, OSSEs, etc.) and observing system design
  • Observing system needs and future challenges
  • Ocean monitoring based on observing systems
  • Ocean Obs ’19
  • Satellite ocean observing systems

To represent dynamics in the ocean, ocean models are key. As the demand for greater precision in ocean modelling arise, including more processes and better numerics in the ocean models is important. Atmospheric, wave, tides, and ice modelling contribute to improving the dynamical representation of ocean models. Additionally, with ever-increasing computing capacity, high-resolution model grids and ensemble forecasts are providing better descriptions of ocean conditions and better description and understanding of errors.

  • Boundary conditions and forcings
  • Coupled modelling
  • Current scientific challenges of ocean modelling
  • Downscaling
  • Ecosystem/BGC modelling
  • Future trends
  • Grid structure and resolution
  • Numerical methods
  • Model assessments and verification
  • Model configurations
  • Ocean processes and parameterisation
  • Wave and tide modelling



To provide a best assessment of ocean/marine conditions, the assimilation of ocean observations into ocean models is needed. This applies equally to atmospheric, ice, tidal, and wave components of the marine environment. There are many areas of inquiry, including: Improving and developing new data assimilation methodologies, making full use of computing power increases, discovering new applications of data assimilation diagnostics for observing systems and forecasting verification …

  • Assimilation of new observation types
  • Background and observation error covariances
  • Biogeochemical DA
  • Coupled DA for various earth system components
  • DA applications
  • DA diagnostics
  • Ensemble DA
  • Estimates of probabilities
  • Fundamentals and methodologies of data assimilation
  • Hybrid DA
  • Model and observation systematic errors
  • Observation impact assessment methods
  • Performance and cost of DA
  • Production of validated error estimates
  • Shelf-seas and coastal DA
  • Smoother/smoothing in DA
  • Variational DA

Operational Oceanography relies on Environmental Prediction Systems to provide a variety of products that best describe ocean conditions in the past, present and future. These systems assemble available data, and through data assimilation with models, provide the most comprehensive and accurate descriptions of ocean conditions available. To extract value from these ocean products, Marine Monitoring and Forecasting services have been established that provide end users with observations and forecast information in support of marine applications.


  • Accessibility, product distribution/dissemination
  • Coupled systems
  • Earth-system models
  • General ocean monitoring (including those based on ocean DA and prediction systems)
  • Implementation of Ocean Prediction Systems
  • Integration of coastal systems in large-scale systems
  • Multi-model ensemble systems
  • Ocean Prediction Systems types (forecasting, analysis, scales, assessment, regions, ecosystem, ice, wave, etc.)
  • Ocean reanalysis
  • Performance & evaluation
  • Probabilistic forecasting
  • Product and data formats
  • Research-to-operations delivery chain
  • Service providers
  • Validation/ intercomparisons
  • Visualisation

Understanding end use and benefits of Ocean Prediction Systems is vital for: improving prediction systems and increasing the positive impact of ocean prediction on marine related industry and society in general. This includes providing fit for purpose knowledge so that better operational and strategic decisions in the marine and coastal environment can be made to protect the ocean, mitigate disasters and benefit the economy and society.

  • Acoustic applications
  • Aquaculture
  • Capacity building
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Coastal protection
  • Disaster & risk management
  • Environmental assessment
  • Fisheries
  • Insurances
  • Navy applications
  • Marine pollution
  • Ocean literacy
  • Ocean products for scientific, economic and societal use
  • Oil & gas industries
  • Renewable energies
  • Search and rescue
  • Ship navigation
  • Sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth (blue economy)
  • Water quality