Call for Breakout Session Leads and Proposals


The OceanObs’19 organizers are seeking community leaders for the thematic Breakout Sessions during the conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, on September 17, 18, and 19, 2019. We are seeking nominations and proposals by March 1Nominations for session leaders should include a one-page proposal outlining the core focus of the chosen Breakout Session including an overview of the approach, expected outcomes, and benefits.


This session is focused on observational efforts aiming to provide long time series of the key ocean variables, gridded products, analyses, forecasts, indexes, assessments and other services needed to detect, monitor, understand, and predict climate variations and change. Technologies, platforms and networks that enable ocean monitoring for climate aims should be addressed as well as design strategies and sustainability of observations needed to detect low-frequency variations and changes of climate relevant ocean variables.

This session is focused on observational requirements for the coming decade in support of ocean, weather, and climate forecasting efforts, and the strategy to improve the information delivered by these efforts

This session will focus on the next decade of observations that will address the role of biodiversity and define the ‘health’ of ocean and coastal ecosystems; impacting global climate models, carbon budgets, resource and ecosystem-based management strategies, and public health. Participants will address how to develop an ocean observing system strategy that best incorporates biodiversity to support societal needs, including: new molecular tools, technologies for high-resolution remote sensing, bioinformatics, and a growing culture of networking, collaboration, and data sharing that are required.

This session is focused on identifying observations can measure the humans interaction with the marine environment on land at the coastal/marine interface and at sea over the next decade. Participants will assess the observations that underpin services that allow safe, sustainable and productive operations at sea, and preparedness for marine hazards that impact on our coastal communities.

This session will address the role of ocean observations in sustaining provisional and regulating food, water, and energy services to society and identify effective communication methods between oceanographers and stakeholders.

Given the urgent socio-economic and political demands toward the solution of pollution, this session particularly focuses on the comprehensive needs of observing ocean pollutants and marine debris. Participants, including those from policy and industry sectors, will assess current monitoring efforts and identify gaps, determine Essential Ocean Variables for marine debris and other pollutants, develop a framework for global marine debris and pollution networks to enhance coordination of observing and data sharing, and how to meet U.N. SDG 14.1.

This session focuses on information needs relating to the Blue Economy, specifically identifying the elements, principles and building blocks of a sustainable Blue Economy, and what information is needed from current and future ocean observing systems to achieve tangible results while protecting its resources. Participants in this session will include a mix of stakeholders, policymakers, social and natural scientists which will discuss information needs for a sustainable Blue Economy, and identify gaps and information barriers at regional and international levels.

Advances in Ocean Science, Development and Applications need to be down-scaled for the uptake of developing countries. This session is critical to supporting developing countries to build their capacities in the update of innovations, technologies, applications and platforms with the aim of bringing the gap between developed and developing with the overall objective to meet SDG 14 and further improve SDG 1 and 2 for Coastal Communities in developing countries who mostly depend on oceans for their livelihood and survival.


With the rapid advancement in platforms such as Argos, gliders, moorings, in situ sensors are increasingly critical for addressing gaps in observing the ocean. This session will to bring together scientists and engineers to identify major challenges and pressing needs in sensor technologies for in situ measurements to meet requirements of the future ocean observations.

The internet of things (IOT) is dramatically impacting fields ranging from manufacturing and logistics to home security and thermostats. This session will explore how innovative technologies and processes can benefit ocean observing systems. It will discuss ideas and advance toward a digital ocean crossing technical and user community boundaries for mutual benefit.

With the development of new autonomous ocean observing systems, the volume of data collected each year is exploding. The days of scientists spending months pouring over a few carefully analyzed measurements well after a research cruise are gone. Innovative approaches for evaluating data quality and efficiently visualizing large numbers of observations are being developed, but more automated and scientifically vetted QA/QC routines and data analysis tools are needed to manage the ever growing data streams. Many systems are posting real-time or near real-time data to public servers. This session will provide an opportunity to explore researchers’ needs for new innovative tools to evaluate and work with these data as well as potential solutions from outside our immediate community.

The ocean is a crucial economic engine, which has large, unexplored economic potential but one that faces serious challenges from many threats. Sustainably developing the Blue Economy to its full potential will require new and innovative strategies which include technological developments for improved ocean observation, resource identification, fit-for-purpose data generation, and ground-breaking Blue Economy-related industries. This session seeks to bring together natural and social scientists, engineers, stakeholders and policy makers to identify new and innovative ocean observation technologies, research and development programs and investments, and inventive ocean observation governance and financial strategies that can propel an environmentally resilient Blue Economy into the next decade.

Ocean observations are essential for numerical model assimilation and validation. As model resolution increases, particularly towards the coast where there are different dynamical drivers, observational requirements increase. Moreover data assimilating models can guide future observational strategies. For these reasons, strong linkages between the observing and modelling communities are required. This session will determine how the ocean observing community can best respond to this need.

This session will focus on how to develop better communication between users of information about the ocean including the general public, social scientists and humanists, and natural scientists. There also have to be improved communications and alignment of priorities among ocean science groups. This session provides a forum for dialogue about how the multiple ocean science disciplines can better integrate between themselves but also with critical external groups to build a robust community that integrates the public, academia, government, and industry.

The United Nations has defined seventeen “Sustainable Development Goals” as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future. Some of these include ocean observations, such as for eutrophication, plastic pollution, and ocean acidifciation. This session will focus on how the ocean observing community can best respond to these data and information needs.


The proliferation of ocean observing activities around the world is extremely diverse and not managed, or even overseen by, any one entity. The lack of coherent governance has resulted in duplication and varying degrees of clarity, responsibility, coordination and data sharing. This session will focus on how to organize a more effective and well-structured governance arrangement and how to get there by either modifying the current system of rebuilding it from scratch.

This session will address the transformation of regional & basin-scale ocean observing from a loosely-structured, largely-fragmented collection of ocean observing activities to a coherent, effective and efficient as well as fit-for-purpose system. Participants will determine how to integrate observations and create an end-to-end approach from science to ocean services. Ideal observing systems will become sustainable, coordinated and comprehensive delivering relevant ocean information for a wide range of societal benefit areas spanning all the themes of the conference.

Experiences and observations from living within ocean systems have generated ongoing local and traditional ecological knowledge (LEK and TEK) and Indigenous knowledge (IK). A comprehensive approach to ocean monitoring should connect academic practices (‘science’) and local community and Indigenous practices, encompassing ‘TEK, LEK and IK.’ This session will emphasize research approaches and methods for connecting scientists, local communities and Indigenous knowledge holders and their respective knowledge systems and priorities in order to move toward joint, improved marine ecosystem management, and building resilience to marine hazards and ocean change.

This session will address the importance of an integrated ocean observing system to providing critical data and information for sustainable development. Participants will begin synthesizing anticipated outcomes from OceanObs’19 to provide guidance on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. In addition, the sustainable development community can express how to enhance and evolve observing systems to serve their needs. The decade will begin its formal work between 2021 and 2030 and is an ideal point for aligning follow-up activities.

This session will focus on developing strategies and identifying best practices for improving the understanding, use, and communication of the accuracies of ocean observations and derived products. Participants will discuss how accuracy (or uncertainty) quantification can be incorporated into observing system design, model-data synthesis, and other user applications.

This session will focus on how to improve the delivery of ocean observing data products for the user groups that benefit from this information. Scientists and stakeholders will identify innovative ways to integrate ocean observing information to maximize the impact and benefit of users over the next decade.