Ocean Sciences Meeting 2014

Two IC3 scientists - the PhD student Desislava Petrova and the post-doctoral scientist Joan Ballester - from the Climate Dynamics and Impacts Unit attended the Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM 2014) at the Hawai‘i Convention Center on February 23rd - 28th. OSM is organized by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) and the Oceanography Society (TOS), and is one of the biggest international forums for scientists working in the area of oceanography. The conference takes place every two years. Participants in this 17th edition were more than 5000 researchers, students, policy makers, and industry representatives who exchanged knowledge and information through a number of oral presentations and poster sessions on topics that covered virtually all aspects of oceanography and the aquatic sciences. In addition to the scientific lectures, there were keynote and plenary talks aimed to start social discussions regarding climate change and the disappearance of seafare cultures throughout the globe. More information about specific lectures and resources can be found at http://www.sgmeet.com/osm2014/default.asp and http://www.oceansciencesmeeting.org.


The IC3 scientists who attended the meeting work on the El Niño Southern Oscillation, and particularly on its origin and predictability. At this year's OSM there was an individual session on “Understanding and simulating ENSO in past, present and future climates”, during which various talks were given about the changes in ENSO over the past six centuries, the variance of its heat budget, the asymmetry of its propagation, its response to greenhouse warming and climate change, the effect of the MJO on its irregularity, its overall evolution and predictability, and its interaction with the annual cycle. Desislava and Joan participated with presentations on the following topics: “Forecasting El Niño Using Unobserved Components Time Series Models” and “Ocean-Atmosphere Mechanisms Involved in the Equatorial Heat Buildup Leading to El Niño Events”. Eposters of the respective presentations can be viewed at http://www.eposters.net/poster/forecasting-el-nio-using-unobserved-components-time-series-models and http://www.eposters.net/poster/ocean-atmosphere-mechanisms-involved-in-the-equatorial-heat-buildup-leading-to-el-nio-events. Since the ENSO phenomenon affects the climate of a large portion of the Earth, understanding its dynamics better is of major importance, with implications not only for its own forecasting, but for large-scale climate forecasting initiatives, as well. The IC3 scientists have added to the state-of-the art ENSO knowledge with some new major insights into the origin of the western equatorial Pacific subsurface heat buildup, which is necessary for the initiation of an El Niño event. In addition, a novel El Niño prediction scheme using an unobserved component time series model in a state space form has been developed, and some very promising initial forecasting results have been achieved, with successful El Niño forecasts going beyond the traditional “spring barrier” for ENSO predictability. Desislava Petrova also acted as a student volunteer for the organization of the conference session “The role of the oceans in climate change on interannual, decadal and century-long time scales from marine proxy archives”.