Every country with a coastline in the world is now likely to engage in marine activities aimed at ensuring national security, environmental protection and maritime economic development. Activities such as (to name a few) search and rescue, oil spill monitoring, storm surge monitoring, ocean current and wave forecasting, marine renewable energy or aquaculture development, require daily monitoring and forecasting of ocean conditions for blue (ocean currents and waves), white (sea ice) and green (chlorophyll and nutrients) oceans. This ocean monitoring capacity is called operational oceanography and can now be developed on a national scale to complement the national weather forecasting centers. There is a great need for developing countries to strengthen this capacity and develop their national operational oceanography center.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO) and the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) have formed an Expert Team on Operational Ocean Forecasting Systems (ETOOFS). This group brings together experts representing each continent who are highly motivated to share and improve their experience and skills to help developing countries build their national centers for operational oceanography. Pierre Bahurel, Managing Director of Mercator International Ocean, is the Chairman of this group. Thus, Mercator Ocean supports the development of such an initiative by :
– Contributing to many chapters of the “Guide to Operational Oceanography and Forecasting Systems” which is coordinated by ETOOFS. This guide aims to establish standards and best practices for building an operational oceanography service and will be published at the end of 2021.
– Create a booklet that will summarize the main ideas of the guide.
– Developing a capacity development workshop to be held in June 2021. Its purpose will be to provide the participants with a good overview of the key scientific and awareness steps to establish an operational oceanographic service.

The booklet is now available! It is interactive, feel free to click on the different elements: