Introducing the Ocean Forecasting Co-Design Team, steering asset of OceanPrediction

The OceanPrediction Decade Collaborative Centre (DCC), hosted by Mercator Ocean International (MOi) and launched in January 2023, aims to a predicted Ocean based on a shared and coordinated global effort in the framework of the UN Ocean Decade. To accomplish this mission, two organisational structures are put in place: the Regional Teams and the Ocean Forecasting Co-Design Team (OFCT). This article introduces the latter: what is its goal? How do these two structures collaborate?

Building a technical infrastructure to share with a global community

Today, Operational Ocean Forecasting Systems (OOFS) have proven highly valuable, as they contribute to a cutting-edge know-how amongst the marine community. However, they face challenges in connectivity, interoperability, and integration. Building a downstream system from scratch without experienced guidance nor support is a huge challenge in itself. It can be successful, but it often results in an isolated service, with reduced possibilities of integrating in a larger framework the new data or interacting with other systems. This limits the OOFS’s proliferation (especially in less technologically advanced countries) as well as the growth of the ocean forecasting community and their shared knowledge.

The OceanPrediction DCC and the associated Decade actions are working to change this by leveraging the Ocean Decade and digital twinning to improve connectivity, enable integration of new systems, and to provide common tools for implementation, validation, dissemination, and exploitation of OOFS.

What are the goals of the Ocean Forecasting Co-Design Team?

OceanPrediction's Ocean Forecasting Co-Design team

The OFCT is formed by worldwide specialists whose expertise covers the whole Ocean forecasting value chain. The main objective of the Team is to design an Ocean forecasting architecture to deliver as one, taking benefit from the digital twinning concept, which will permit a simpler, modular, and more robust development of the systems in the future.

The development of this architecture will rely on well-defined building blocks, that will take the form of Standards, Tools, Best Practices and Operational Readiness Level (ORL). The ORL will serve as a numerical indicator of a system’s maturity, addressing its operational functionality, suitability for the intended purpose, validation methods, and interoperability characteristics. In this context, Tools are defined as software components, and Standards as formats and procedures. Both will be designed to be integrated into the OOFS value chain, serving to enhance the system’s interoperability and its ability to deliver accurate forecasts. The adoption of these community co-designed Standards and Tools in a system will contribute to improve its ORL index. Last but not least, Best Practices represent community-approved actions recommended for incorporating Tools, Standards, or any other improvements into the value chain of the OOFS. Applying best practices can lead to enhancements in a system’s operational readiness level as well.

This new scenario will benefit all the services but will have a special impact on the capabilities of those organisations that are starting to develop their own activity.

Initially, the Ocean Forecasting Co-Design Team will focus on operational forecasting services within the short time scale (1 to 10 days) on the global, regional and coastal scales. The employed methodology could then be extended to longer time scales in the future (seasonal and climatic).

Working closely with the Regional Teams

As mentioned before, OceanPrediction DCC is organised with two main collaboration structures: the Ocean Forecasting Co-Design Team and the Regional Teams. The latter are the foundation of the global community of OceanPrediction, acting to facilitate collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and advancements in Ocean forecasting within their regions while contributing to global objectives.

The two main organisational structures are interlinked and working together: the chairs of the OceanPrediction DCC Regional Teams are participating in the Ocean Forecasting Co-Design Team by describing the situation, gaps and required developments concerning their corresponding regions. On the other hand, the results from the work of the OFCT will be implemented in the various regions thanks to the work of the Regional Teams.

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