IAPSO Annual Reports

2019 IAPSO Activities 

(Editing in progress)


IAPSO has the prime goal of 'promoting the study of scientific problems relating to the oceans and the interactions taking places at the sea floor, coastal, and atmospheric boundaries insofar as such research is conducted by the use of mathematics, physics, and chemistry.' IAPSO works mainly through 1) biennial scientific assemblies; 2) working groups; 3) commissions; 4) services and 5) website information. Of special importance to IAPSO is the involvement of scientists and students from developing countries in oceanographic activities.

IAPSO maintains formal liaison with other scientific commissions and committees. These include the ICSU's Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), and UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
For more information see http://iapso.iugg.org/.


The IAPSO Bureau (2019-2023) was renewed in July 2019 during the IUGG General Assembly in Montreal. It comprises:
President: Trevor McDougall (Australia)
Past President: Denise Smythe-Wright (UK)
Secretary General: Stefania Sparnocchia (Italy)
Treasurer: Ken Ridgway (Australia)

The Executive Committee comprises the Bureau members and
Vice-Presidents: Agatha de Boer (Sweden)
Hans van Haren (The Netherlands)
Edmo Campos (Brazil)
Juliet Hermes (South Africa)
Yukio Masumoto (Japan)
Jae-Hun Park (Republic of Korea)
Christa von Hildebrandt-Andrade (USA and Puerto Rico)
Peter Zavialov (Russia)

The IAPSO office is located at the Institute of Marine Science of the National Research Council of Italy, Trieste and day-to-day business is managed by Secretary General (SG), Stefania Sparnocchia. The SG is responsible for the IAPSO website. A page on the Facebook social network is also activE, with the aim of facilitating the spreading of information in the community (see https://www.facebook.com/iapso.iugg.org). Together with the President, the SG also prepares and distributes a bi-annual Newsletter to IAPSO delegates and interested parties.

IAPSO finances are managed by the Australian-based Treasurer, Ken Ridgway.

IAPSO business meetings were conducted in July 2019, during the IUGG General Assembly in Montreal, Canada. These included three meetings of the Executive Committee, on 8, 9 and 14 July, and one General Business meeting also involving National Correspondents or their Delegates on 11 July. Day-to-day business has been conducted by email where appropriate.


2019 Assembly
The principal activity during the year was the participation in the 27th IUGG General Assembly in Montreal, Canada, from 8 to 18 July. Celebrating the IUGG Centennial 1919-2019, the theme of the General Assembly was 'Beyond 100: The next century in Earth and Space Science'. The IAPSO scientific sessions were held from 9-14 July and included 11 IAPSO symposia (216 oral presentations and 94 posters) and 5 IAPSO-lead Association Joint symposia (111 oral presentations and 51 posters). IAPSO also co-sponsored 12 Joint symposia led by another Association (189 oral presentations and 104 posters). The program details can be found on the Assembly's website: http://www.iugg2019montreal.com/p.html.

At the date of this report the final numbers on participation in the G.A. have not been received, roughly there were about 4000 participants, of which 341 registered as IAPSO. There were many quality presentations and much networking in the corridors.

The IAPSO highlight during the assembly included
● the Union Lecture 'The Ocean's Role in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Changes During Ice Age Cycles' given by Prof. Karen Kohfeld (Simon Fraser University, Canada);
● the Prince Albert I, 2019 lecture 'Decadal variability in the ocean CO2 sink' given by Prof. Corinne Le Quéré (University of East Anglia, United Kingdom), who was awarded the Prince Albert I Medal in connection with the lecture;
● the ECS Medal in Physical Oceanography, 2019 talk 'Overturning variability with observations' given by Gerard McCarthy (Maynooth University, Ireland);
● the ECS Medal in Chemical Oceanography, 2019 talk 'Nitrogen fixation across scales' given by Mar Benavides (Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography, France).

IAPSO also awarded a further medal, the Eugene Lafond Medal, to a developing world scientist who gave a notable paper at an IAPSO sponsored or co-sponsored symposium. Following the procedure, presentations (oral or poster) of self-nominating candidates were attended by a subset of the IAPSO Executive Committee and the Eugene LaFond Medal, 2019 was awarded to Mr. Rohith Balakrishnan, for his oral presentation 'Basin-wide sea level coherency in the tropical Indian Ocean driven by Madden-Julian oscillations' delivered on July 11, 2019 within the IAG-IAPSO joint symposium 'Monitoring Sea Level Changes by Satellite and In-Situ Measurements'.

IAPSO is now organizing the IAPSO-IAMAS-IACS Joint Assembly in Busan, South Korea, from 18-23, July 2021. A first planning meeting was held in Montreal, involving IAPSO, IAMAS and IACS officers. Information about the conference will be posted at www.baco-21.org.

IAPSO Early Career Scientist Working Group
Established during 2018, the IAPSO Early Career Scientist Working Group had its first networking event on 9 July, 2019, in Montreal. About 30 young scientists participated. The email address, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , is active to subscribe to the WG. The Group is chaired by Alejandra Sanchez-Franks (United Kingdom) and co-chaired by Malin Ödalen (Sweden) and its Term of References are available on the IAPSO website (http://iapso.iugg.org/working-groups.html).

IAPSO Best Practice Study Groups
IAPSO has sent out a call (in early September 2019) to fund IAPSO Best Practice Study Groups. We expect to fund one of these per year. An IAPSO Best Practice Study Group will address an issue whose resolution will assist in the conduct of oceanographic research. In carrying out oceanographic research, a choice must frequently be made between a few options for measuring data, analysing data,processing software, or modelling a system. The reasons for choosing between competing methods are often not well documented and the relative strengths and weaknesses of these routes are usually not published or well known. Each Best Practice Study Group will receive up to US$10,000 towards the costs of a meeting.

SCOR Administration
IAPSO has maintained its formal relations with SCOR during the year. The EC members were involved in the evaluation of the 2019 Working Group proposals and the President, Trevor McDougall attended the 2019 SCOR Annual Meeting in Toyama, Japan, 23-25 September 2019.

IUGG 100 years anniversary
Formed in Brussels (Belgium) on 28 July 1919, the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019. At the meeting in Brussels a Section of Physical Oceanography was also formed, which gave birth to the current IAPSO.

 To celebrate the centenary of the IUGG and its Associations, various initiatives have been implemented including:
● the implementation of a website that traces the history: http://100.iugg.org/index.php;
● the publication of the special issue of History of Geo- and Space Sciences (HGSS), 'The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics: from different spheres to a common globe', https://www.hist-geo-space-sci.net/special_issue996.html, including the paper 'IAPSO: tales from the ocean frontier', https://www.hist-geo-space-sci.net/10/137/2019/;
● the event 'Centennial International Cooperation in Earth and Space Sciences at the UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, FRANCE, 29 July 2019, program: http://100.iugg.org/events/IUGG_program_Paris_Jul_29_2019.pdf.
The Guest of Honour was HMSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and he made reference to the work of his great great grandfather who was the first President of IAPSO and applauded IAPSO's work. In turn Denise Smythe-Wright was able to thank him personally for his support of IAPSO and the IAPSO Prince Albert I medal.

The centennial year marks an important milestone for IUGG. Since its inception as a union of international scientific associations, IUGG has developed into a prominent scientific organizations promoting Earth and space sciences worldwide in the complicated political, economic and scientific landscapes of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries.