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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

Regional Training and Research Center in China rounds off its annual international training

“This international training course is indeed of great help to young scientists like me, as it provided a grand opportunity to gain new knowledge from the experts, and to exchange our research experience among young trainees,” said Azam Chowdury, a trainee from Bangladesh at the WESTPAC international training on ocean forecasting system in Qingdao, China, 2-7 July 2018.

47 selected young scientists from 27 countries and 7 reputed experts gathered for a week long international training at the UNESCO/IOC Regional Training and Research Center on Ocean Dynamics and Climate (RTRC-ODC center), learning and sharing the knowledge about ocean forecasting techniques, model development, data assimilation and interpretation. This training was held back to back with the CLIVAR-FIO Summer School from 25 June to 1 July 2018.

Ocean forecasting system provides essential forecast on ocean condition including surface wave, tide, ocean current, ocean temperature, and sea level et al. It can support a wide range of human activities such as transportation, fishery, tourism, conservation, oil spill response, and search and rescue operation at the sea.

The training this year is the eighth one that the RTRC-ODC was committed since 2011 to assisting other developing countries, particularly these in the region, in developing their ocean forecasting capacities. “A total of 359 young scientists from more than 43 countries in the world were accepted for the whole eight courses,” Fangli Qiao, Director of the RTRC-ODC center, added: “We are truly delighted to network young scientists from the world and help them further develop their research collaborations.”

The training featured a comprehensive introduction to the development of regional ocean forecasting systems with topics covering from ocean data assimilation, forecast of surface wave, tide and circulation, to interpretation of numerical results and present development practices of regional OFS. In addition, young scientists were grouped for various scientific discussions and hands-on exercises for setting up regional tidal and circulation forecast models, SST assimilation in a coastal model, model validation and forecast result visualization. Four trainees were finally awarded the best trainees.

“Never before has ocean, together with marine science, been so important like today! Our marine scientific communities, particularly young generation marine scientists, shall grasp every opportunity to work together to advance our knowledge to support the sustainable development of our ocean, coasts and marine resources,” Wenxi Zhu, Head of the WESTPAC office, encouraged to embrace the UN Decade of ocean science for sustainable development (2021-2030), a “once in a lifetime” opportunity with IOC/UNESCO designated to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade in consultation with Member States, and all relevant stakeholders.

The series of ODC trainings is part of the capacity development efforts that the Sub-Commission launched to cater to the needs of countries in the region to address their development challenges. It constitutes an essential cornerstone for the development of an Ocean Forecasting System for the region, demonstrating the Sub-Commission’s voluntary commitment to the UN Ocean Conference’s call for action on the implementation of SDG 14: Conserve and Sustainably use oceans, coasts, and marine resources for sustainable development.