Breakout Sessions are a core component of the OceanObs’19 conference, designed to provide a focused discussion forum for the community.

  • Eight community-led breakout sessions are scheduled to run parallel on each core day of the conference (September 17, 18, and 19), categorized by the daily theme: Information, Innovation, and Integration.

  • Breakout Sessions will aim to generate feedback on the conference themes and goals, including 1-3 specific recommendations on an improved global ocean observing governance and a vision for the next decade of ocean information.

  • Recommendations developed within the sessions will be reported the following day to the conference attendees and presented to the Sponsor Committee for post-Conference adoption.


Based on the Conference Themes, the OceanObs’19 Program Committee developed 24 DRAFT  session topics and solicited nominations for leaders and one-page proposals outlining the core focus of the chosen Breakout Session including an overview of the approach, expected outcomes, and benefits. The call for nominations and proposals closed on March 1.

The Program Committee collected and reviewed each proposal and consolidated approaches and teams to provide the most comprehensive discussions and outcomes. Acceptances and guidance were disseminated to selected leaders on April 30.


The final list of breakout sessions, descriptions, and lead information is available in the table at the bottom of the page.

Breakout Session leads are currently assembling their teams and preparing the outlines for their respective session. Each team is coordinating with one or more assigned OceanObs’19 Program Committee members to ensure that the outline includes relevant recommendations from Community White Papers and other priority issues. Templates for recommendations will be provided to streamline session organization. 


Tuesday: Information: Sept 17

LEAD: Claire Jolly, OECD

This session will explore the socio-economics of ocean observations for sustainable development, discussing the rationale and economic impacts of sustained ocean observations in a growing blue economy context. Experts will share lessons learned on recent economic impact assessments of ocean observations and on new cooperation models bringing benefits to both researchers and industry representatives. The session will also address advances in socio-economic impact measurement that may useful to various ocean observing communities in their own assessments.

LEAD: Brian Arbic, University of Michigan

The goal of this session is to make a recommendation to the ocean community on a common strategy that brings together various strands of capacity development for ocean observing, decision making, conservation, and sustainable use across the globe, with an emphasis on SIDS and developing countries. The session will begin with a small number of “lightning talks” on strategies for breaking down barriers to capacity development, and will then turn to participation from the audience to further explore capacity development methods, challenges and successes. We are keen to have participation from a wide variety of stakeholders, including a healthy mixture of younger and older stakeholders, and including industry partners, decision makers, conservation and sustainability experts, and ocean scientists.

LEAD: Karina von Schuckmann, Mercator Ocean International

Today, the international climate service and policy agenda requires high quality, scientifically sound and reliable information requiring sustained observational efforts that feed into gridded products, models and reanalyses to detect, monitor, understand, and predict climate variations and change. This session is aiming to refine high-level recommendations for the next decade based on OceanObs19 Community White Papers focused on ocean related climate indicators such as those developed under GCOS and WCRP, including ocean temperature and heat content, sea level, ocean acidification, air-sea flux and sea ice extent. The expected outcome of this event is to identify an international roadmap over the next decade to support timely, sustained and high-quality delivery of ocean Global Climate Indicators with reduced uncertainties and to identify opportunities for their regular joint international assessments.

LEAD: Maury Estes, University of Alabama in Huntsville

The purpose of the session is to refine and endorse a plan to develop and publish a 10-year blueprint for observing marine life in support of ecological forecasting, local to global ocean health assessments, promoting conservation, and sustaining the blue economy. The plan and vision will be developed by community leaders prior to OceanObs’19. The session will generate a recommendation for the global ocean observing community to integrate marine life and biodiversity into ocean observing efforts; the recommendation will outline requirements for multidisciplinary information to address user needs and promote use of best practices to bring together the observing community to accomplish this very major challenge over the next decade.

LEAD: Francois Galgani, IFREMER

The goal of this session is to advance a harmonized approach to the design of regional/national programs and their integration in a global platform/repository. We will discuss common approaches of data collection and management and propose their unification and harmonization. The session will also propose post-conference activities and programs for the next decade and discuss marine litter observation governance.


Eitarou Oka, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo

Patricia Miloslavich, University of Tasmania, Australia and Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela

Jack Barth, Oregon State University

Artur Palacz, Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Kim Currie, NIWA

Meghan Cronin, NOAA

SESSION DESCRIPTION: Integrated Ocean Observations I: Across Geographic Scales

The goal of this breakout session, constituting a part of the larger thematic block on “Integrated Ocean Observations”, is to develop a set of recommendations on how the global to coastal ocean observing systems can provide information and ocean products that are most useful to society’s needs. Participants will be invited to bring forward their suggestions on, for example, what innovation is needed to enable high-quality and high resolution measurements in the coastal ocean, noting the importance of regional and global processes to the coastal ocean, or on how to make national and regional systems more interoperable based on common standards and best practices. This session will seek to integrate the different observing approaches, knowledge and experiences of coastal ocean observers and users, and put the recommendations in the context of the vision for an integrated global ocean observing system.

LEAD: Eric Chassignet, Florida State University

The main goal of this breakout session is to identify post-conference activities and programs that should be carried out over the coming decade in order
to increase synergy between ocean observation initiatives and ocean, weather, and climate forecasting. These activities will guide the actions of OceanPredict, GOOS, WMO, and related communities, focusing on maximizing value from the observing network, improving services to users and gaining scientific and technical efficiencies by bringing together related science communities. The basis for the discussion will consist of the community white papers relevant to Ocean, Weather, and Climate Forecasting, including reanalysis, S2S predictions, and OSE/OSSEs.

Wednesday: Innovation: Sept 18

LEAD: Jonathan White, Consortium for Ocean Leadership 

Communicating the value of sustained ocean observing systems is urgent and necessary for their implementation, continuity and expansion, and relies on effective dialogue among users at all levels to build support from policymakers and the public. Through presentations, small group discussions, and an open forum, this breakout will examine how academia, industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations involved with global ocean observing currently interact with policymakers, stakeholders and the public, and how to improve those pathways in the future. Key discussion foci and projected outcomes will include (1) broader understanding of how existing ocean observing science and policy areas intersect nationally and internationally, (2) identification of opportunities to build global support for ocean observing through cross-sector and international partnerships, and (3) determination of actions that the ocean observing community should take to more effectively communicate and engage with stakeholders, leaders, and the public worldwide.


Eitarou Oka, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo

Patricia Miloslavich, University of Tasmania, Australia and Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela

Jack Barth, Oregon State University

Artur Palacz, Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Kim Currie, NIWA

Meghan Cronin, NOAA

SESSION DESCRIPTION: Integrated Ocean Observations II: Diverse Stakeholders Needs

This breakout session, constituting a part of the larger thematic block on “Integrated Ocean Observations”, focuses on innovations in the Framework of Ocean Observing (FOO) and its implementation in cross-disciplinary ocean observing systems on different geographical  scales.  After an introductory talk on the FOO processes and 3-4 talks by different stakeholders introducing their information and observation needs, the speakers will participate in a round-table discussion of how diverse stakeholders can work together to improve and build existing and emerging observing systems under the FOO in the next decade.  In the final part, audience polling will be used to make consensus recommendations for integrating ocean observations across scales and disciplines to meet expanding user requirements, with FAIR data and synthesized information.

LEAD: Andrea Storto, CMRE and Santha Akella, NASA

This session will focus on ocean reanalyses, beginning with an update from recent assessment and inter-comparison studies, including recent advances and unsolved challenges. Further, developing a vision for sustainable and integrated global ocean observations for climate monitoring and reconstructions, including observational needs for climate products. The discussion will focus on the use observing system impact studies to improve the optimal deployment of observations and maximize their uptake in climate products and the use of coupled DA to maximize extraction of ocean observational information for improving ocean reanalyses, climate products and prediction.

LEAD: Chelle Gentemann, Earth and Space Research

The evolution of open source software coupled with modern computing platforms enables new scalable scientific approaches. This session will explore applications of open source software to science, discuss popular tools and best practices, identify potential barriers to this rapidly advancing form of collaboration, and generate ideas on how open source software can further benefit the scientific community.


Dana Manalang, APL-UW

Jason Rhea, DARPA

Technological advancements in ocean observation and communications contribute to the improvement of marine awareness and environmental understanding. This session looks to identify and discuss breakthrough approaches in robotic persistence, scalable platforms and methods of transmitting data for relevant applications. Innovations in this important area can contribute to a better understanding of ocean modeling, marine mammal activity, and weather while reducing cost of capabilities required to obtain this information.

LEAD: Rosemary Morrow, CTOH-LEGOS

This session will present the new satellite sensors being developed or proposed over the next decade, to enhance our global observations of ocean surface parameters, many aiming at finer scale ocean processes. The dynamical processes being observed are diverse and complementary (SST, SSS, SSH, winds and waves, ocean color, marine gravity), and their synergestic use will be discussed. Linking these satellite observations of smaller, rapid processes to the upper ocean vertical structure also requires a new reflection on the required in-situ sampling at these scales.

LEAD: Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC/UNESCO

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 will be a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to mainstream ocean science by focusing it on existentially important issues of sustainable development, towards “the ocean we need for the future we want”. The upstream element of the entire Decade value chain will be a competent, reliably- and durably- resourced ocean observing system. The breakout session will review the summary of all planning efforts for the Decade by the time of OceanObs’19 and will try to project it on the potential configuration, existing building blocks, and requirements and incentives for such a competent ocean observing system.

Thursday: Integration: Sept 19

LEAD: Molly McCammon, AOOS, US AON, SAON

Rapid warming in the Arctic is driving profound environmental and socio-economic change impacting immediate response tactics and long-term planning and policy strategies. Engaging with stakeholders and identifying societal benefit areas can be used to help design integrated observing systems and identify new technologies, assess their performance across multiple scales. This session will focus on lessons learned, best practices and emerging technologies from existing Arctic systems that can be used elsewhere in the Arctic, as well as other regions of the global ocean to ensure that observing systems are meeting identified needs.

LEAD: Jessica Hausman, PO.DAAC/JPL

As technology improves for observing the oceans, the data and output needs to be accessible and comprehensible to not just the measurement team, but also to other researchers, science applications, modelers and educators. To reach the widest audience and integrate with various systems and services, the data should have a data management plan and be formatted so it can be interoperable by following conventions and standards set forth by climate, meteorological, oceanography and other Earth science communities. This session will discuss the above, what is currently available as resources, and what gaps and other special considerations need to be addressed going into the next decade to make data more accessible and usable to a variety of users.

LEAD: Toste Tanhua, GEOMAR

With a vision for a fully integrated and responsive ocean observing, a governance system needs to support the design, implementation, evolution and maintenance of the system that our ocean, governments and society need. The present governance arrangements will not be sufficient to realize this ambition, as they do not connect the different communities, networks, and partners in fully achieving their potential and do not allow for full implementation of the concepts identified in the Framework for Ocean Observing. This breakout session will present outcomes from a series of workshops, followed by a moderated panel discussion with the goal of identifying a road map and recommendations for reforming the governance of the ocean observing system.


Eitarou Oka, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo

Patricia Miloslavich, University of Tasmania, Australia and Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela

Jack Barth, Oregon State University

Artur Palacz, Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Kim Currie, NIWA

Meghan Cronin, NOAA

SESSION DESCRIPTION: Integrated Ocean Observations III: Across disciplines and networks

The goal of this breakout session, constituting the third part of the larger thematic block on “Integrated Ocean Observations”, is to provide recommendations to the ocean community on how to fully integrate biological observations into a truly multidisciplinary observing system, from the coast to the open ocean, and from the surface to the deep. The session will present a set of priority goals and milestones for the 2019-2029 decade as well as recommendations for the implementation of a multidisciplinary observing system focused on partnerships, communication, best practices, data quality and access, capacity development, and sustainability. The audience will discuss ideas on how each of the goals and milestones may be achieved and to reach consensus on priority recommendations for an improved understanding and prediction capacity of life in the ocean.


LEAD: Jay Pearlman, IEEE

In this session, all participants may identify priorities in the creation and evolution of best practices across the ocean value chain, with their adoption at local, regional, and global scales.Through discussion with a panel of experts and the session participants, we will develop a strategy and recommendations to ensure the benefits of best practices are accrued across the ocean community, via sustainability, peer review, clearly defined use cases and the incorporation of the latest technologies. Of particular interest for science and applications are best practice strategies that lead to consistent and transparent observations in support of high quality science to advance the blue economy, wise conservation of life in the ocean, and sustainable development.

LEAD: Jörn Schmidt, Kiel Marine Science at Kiel University

The goal of this session is to develop best practice guidelines for bridging indigenous, traditional, local and scientific knowledge and knowledge holders to develop community based observing systems, which build on the needs and interest of indigenous, local and scientific communities, producing findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) data that is readily accessible to community and municipal decision maker as well as the scientific community. Differences and similarities between case studies in relation to observing needs, interests, and legal and institutional capacities will help us to develop a draft of the guidelines in preparation of the session. During the session participants will discuss and refine the guidelines and provide recommendations on how to develop a 10-year roadmap for integration of community engaging and community owned observing systems into a global observing system.

LEAD: Aneesh Subramanian, University of Colorado Boulder

Oceanography has entered a realm of big data in recent decades, prompting an increased need for data curation and uncertainty quantification. This session will focus on discussing best practices for the derivation, communication, and utilization of the uncertainties of in-situ, derived, and modeled ocean products. Participants will discuss how uncertainty quantification can be incorporated into analyses, observing system design, data assimilation, and other user applications.

LEAD: Paul DiGiacomo, NOAA/GEO Blue Planet 

This session will focus on the role of ocean observations and associated research and application development in implementation, monitoring, and reporting in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG14 – Life Below Water, as codified in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Given the urgency of a changing ocean and increasing national data needs to ensure the sustainable management of ocean resources, the challenge is to increase significantly the availability and delivery of high-quality, timely, reliable and sustained data that provides fit-for-purpose SDG information. Mechanisms and solutions to facilitate the delivery of this information will be discussed, likewise the role of the upcoming UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in support of this and other global initiatives.

Keynote Panel, Special Session, and Breakout Session Sign Up

With over 1200 registered, we need you to indicate which sessions you are most interest in attending throughout the week. This will help our leads organize and better facilitate your input. You may switch sessions during the conference if you change your mind.

To assist us in this, please fill out the following sign-up form by August 14th.

Session Sign Up