Recent Submissions

  • State of the Ocean Report 2024.

    Ahern, Molly; Aliaga, Bernardo; Alis, Victoria; Fanjul, Enrique Alvarez; Al-Yamani, Faiza Y; Angove, Michael; Ansong, Joseph Onwona; Appeltans, Ward; Bahurel, Pierre; Bailey, Rick; et al. (UNESCO-IOC, 2024)
    The State of the Ocean Report (StOR) has the ambition to inform policymakers about the state of the ocean and to stimulate research and policy actions towards ‘the ocean we need for the future we want’, contributing to the 2030 Agenda and in particular SDG 14, which reads ‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources’, as well as other global processes such as the UNFCCC, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Structured around the seven UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Outcomes, the Report provides important information about the achievements of the UN Ocean Decade and, in the longer term, about ocean well-being. The StOR will be used to inform policy and administrative priorities and identify research focus areas that need to be strengthened or developed.
  • Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability - A Community Vision for the Ocean Decade.

    Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO, 2024)
    The global ocean acidification research community responded to the Decade call by co-designing a pioneering UN Decade programme entitled “Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability” (OARS). The programme is led by three partners: Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK), University of Washington (USA), and IOC-UNESCO. OARS provides the blueprint to foster cooperation of ocean acidification research, improve understanding of the impacts of the phenomenon and, ultimately, develop approaches for mitigating its effects by acting on sources and identify adaptation approaches. The OARS white papers in this publication summarize where the global community currently is on this path and what should be done in the future to include the ocean acidification dimension for combatting the degradation of ocean health under various anthropogenic stressors including the changing climate.
  • Audit of IOC by external auditor of UNESCO: draft implementation plan: Twenty-ninth Session of the Assembly UNESCO, Paris, 21–29 June 2017

    Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOC, 2017)
    In follow-up to the audit of the Commission carried out by the External Auditor of UNESCO in April 2016, this document contains the Secretariat’s proposal for a draft implementation plan of the external auditor’s recommendations, as detailed in documents200 EX/20 Part II Rev. and 200 EX/20.INF.2.
  • Pacific Islands Marine Bioinvasions Alert Network (PacMAN) monitoring plan.

    Suominen, Saara; Appeltans, Ward; Provoost, Pieter; Ginigini, Joape; Brodie, Gilianne; Kumar, Paayal; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO - International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) (UNESCO-IOC-IODE, 2021)
    Invasive species pose a major risk to marine biodiversity and ecosystem health (Bax et al. 2003, Molnar et al. 2008, Costello et al. 2010), and consequently to ecosystem services that are crucial for livelihoods and human well-being. The increasing movement of goods and services across the globe has enhanced the risk of invasive species throughout the world. Fiji is considered a hub of marine traffic among the Pacific Islands, and therefore is an entry point for high-risk invasive species in the area. Currently, the information on local marine biodiversity, and consequently marine invasive alien species (MIAS) is lacking in the Pacific Islands at large. While the Government of Fiji is active in biodiversity monitoring through the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF), the Fiji Invasive Alien Species Task Force (FIST), the National Invasive Species Framework and Action Plan (NISFSAP) currently under construction through Fiji’s national invasive species project and the Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) program, many of these initiatives are focused on terrestrial biosecurity and lack a robust approach to address the problem at the marine ecosystem level. Consultation with local stakeholders revealed that increased efforts on marine biodiversity conservation should go hand in hand with increased efforts in MIAS management. National priorities for Fiji’s National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP) addresses this link through its Focus Area 4: Management of Invasive Alien Species (IAS). Concerted efforts in this focus area are geared towards the establishment of an Invasive Species Database, the strengthening of the FIST, increased coordination between local and regional networks on IAS management and a renewed surge in national effort to raise the standard of biosecurity surveillance programs such as those found under the Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) program for BAF. The successful development of these national programs, requires enhanced collection of information on marine biodiversity, knowledge on the existing presence of marine invasive species, and the development of routine monitoring to enable rapid responses to known highly invasive species. Existing frameworks at BAF utilized for terrestrial IAS management will be used to guide the development of future management plans for MIAS. BAF is the lead implementing agency for a GEF 6 project “Building Capacities to Address Invasive Alien Species to Enhance the Chances of Long-term Survival of Terrestrial Endemic and Threatened Species on Taveuni Island and Surrounding Islets” aimed at establishing and enhancing national and local capacity to prevent, detect, control and manage invasive alien species. A key planned outcome of the project is development of a clearinghouse mechanism to collate and make accessible IAS information to all stakeholders. The PaCMAN project will partner with the GEF6 IAS project in this regard so that MIAS data generated from the PacMAN project is curated, verified, uploaded and available through this clearing house. Through PacMAN outcomes, the Ministry of Environment has indicated to initiate a management policy on marine invasive species as a by-product of the management recommendations from the project. Technical capacity in molecular methods exists in pockets in Fiji, however further capacity development is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of eDNA in routine marine conservation efforts. BAF has been identified as a partner through local stakeholder consultations that will assist with technological gaps with its DNA analysis capacity through a recently acquired qPCR unit. Considering marine invasive species, Fiji is also one of the Lead Partnering Countries (LPCs) in the GEF/UNDP-IMO project “Building Partnerships to Assist Developing Countries Minimize the Impacts from Aquatic Biofouling (GloFouling Partnerships (, indicating its willingness to establish a national strategic action plan to manage biofouling. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) which is the regional coordinator for the Glofouling partnerships is committed to develop a MIAS toolkit as well as conduct capacity building training for local MIAS managers as well as key technical working groups such as the FIST. SPREP has expressed a need for data on marine biodiversity, as well as monitoring guidelines that will be developed through PacMAN. The interest and involvement of SPREP shows that there is a need for MIAS monitoring also in other regional countries in the Pacific. Further linkages can be observed from SPREP’s increased efforts in building capacity on IAS management in the region through its GEF 6 project and its Managing Invasive Species for Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific (MISCCAP).
  • Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP) Assessment of Governance Arrangements for the Ocean Volume 1. Transboundary Large Marine Ecosystems.

    Fanning, Lucia; Mahon, Robin; Baldwin, Kimberly; Douglas, Selicia (UNESCO-IOC, 2015)
    This report is an output of the Large Marine Ecosystems component of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP)(2013-2015). TWAP conducted indicator-based assessments for transboundary water systems in five categories: aquifers, rivers, lakes, Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) and Open Oceans. These included assessment of governance arrangements and overall architecture for transboundary systems. This report covers the arrangements for LMEs, while its companion (Volume 2) covers arrangement for Open Ocean with a focus on Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). Each report is summarised as a chapter in the overall assessment report for the respective water category (Open Ocean and LME).
  • Current conditions and compatibility of maritime uses in the Western Mediterranean: technical report.

    Halim, Firdaous; Iglesias-Campos, Alejandro; Núñez, Cristina Cervera; Colombier, Marie; Marsit, Firas; Khalil, Aya; Pastor Reyes, Ingrid; Pinarbasi, Kemal; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOC, 2021)
    The project “Supporting internationally accepted maritime spatial planning guidance” – MSPglobal for short – is an initiative by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) to support their Joint Roadmap to Accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide (MSProadmap) (#OceanAction15346). Launched in November 2018 for a period of three years, MSPglobal aims to support international maritime/marine spatial planning (MSP) for the sustainable development of the blue economy, by enhancing cross-border and transboundary cooperation where it already exists and promoting MSP processes in areas where it is yet to be put in place. By providing the context for active and effective participation of policy-makers, scientists, businesses, citizens and other stakeholders, MSPglobal aims to improve governance at multiple levels and achieve an ecosystem-based approach in support of the blue economy. Doing so will require transparent data and information, sharing of best practices and new knowledge to inform, guide and support MSP at global scale. Two pilot projects, one in the Western Mediterranean and another in the Southeast Pacific, will facilitate concrete transboundary and cross-border activities, respectively, at different geographical levels as well as support the participating countries in successfully implementing MSP initiatives.
  • Integrated ocean carbon research: a summary of ocean carbon research, and vision of coordinated ocean carbon research and observations for the next decade.

    Wanninkhof, Rik; Sabine, Christopher; Arico, Salvatore; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOC, 2021)
    The Integrated Ocean Carbon Research (IOC-R) programme is a formal working group of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) that was formed in 2018 in response to the United Nations (UN) Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), “the Decade.” The IOC-R will contribute to the science elements of the overarching Implementation Plan for the Decade1. The Implementation Plan is a high-level framework to guide actions by which ocean science can more effectively deliver its contribution and co-development with other entities to achieve the societal outcomes outlined in the Decade plan and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the UN. Knowledge of the ocean carbon cycle is critical in light of its role in sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere and for meeting goals and targets such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the associated UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Increasing levels of CO2 in the ocean, predominantly due to human greenhouse gas emissions, and the partitioning of CO2 into organic and inorganic species have fundamental impacts on ocean carbon cycling and ecosystem health. The Integrated Ocean Carbon Research (IOC-R) effort aims to address key issues in ocean carbon research through investigative and observational goals. It takes advantage of the appreciable knowledge gained from studies over the last four decades of the ocean carbon cycle and its perturbations. IOC-R addresses the clear and urgent need to better understand and quantify the ocean carbon cycle in an integrative fashion in light of the rapid changes that are currently occurring and will occur in the near future. IOC-R can make significant breakthroughs, capitalizing on advances in modeling, data assimilation, remote sensing, and new in situ observing technologies, including novel biological observing techniques, artificial intelligence, and the use of bioinformatics. This IOC-R vision reflects an increasing appreciation for the significant role the ocean carbon cycle has on global well-being now and in the future, and for the critical need to study and monitor it in a holistic fashion.
  • The United Nations World Water Development Report 2016: Water and jobs.

    Paquin, Marc; Cosgrove, Catherine; United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) (UNESCO for UN-Water, 2016)
    The 2016 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report, which was coordinated by the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme of UNESCO in collaboration with UN-Water Members and other partners, illustrates how the connection between water and jobs holds the promise of inclusive and sustainable economic growth for all countries. Its findings can serve to help reach the Sustainable Development Goals, which are all interlinked, including Goal 6 covering water and sanitation for all, and Goal 8 addressing decent work for all. Among its findings, this report shows that many jobs in the global workforce depend on water. It demonstrates that water stress and the lack of decent work can exacerbate security challenges. It also traces the link between scarce or poor quality water, damaged ecosystems and instability that can lead to forced migration. The main message of the report is clear: water is essential to decent jobs and sustainable development. Now is the time to increase investments in protecting and rehabilitating water resources, including drinking water, as well as sanitation while focusing on generating employment.
  • The Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Research and Management. Anton Bruum Memorial Lecture, presented 27 June 2005, UNESCO, Paris

    Anderson, Donald M (UNESCO, 2007)
    Virtually every coastal country in the world is affected by harmful algal blooms (HABs, commonly called “red tides”). This diverse array of phenomena includes blooms of toxic, microscopic algae that lead to illness and death in humans, fish, seabirds, marine mammals, and other oceanic life. There are also non-toxic HABs that cause damage to ecosystems, fisheries resources, and recreational facilities, often due to the sheer biomass of the accumulated algae. The term “HAB” also applies to non-toxic macroalgae (seaweeds), which can cause major ecological impacts such as the displacement of indigenous species, habitat alteration and oxygen depletion in bottom waters. The frequency, spatial extent, and economic impact of HABs have all expanded in recent decades, in parallel with, and sometimes a result of, the world’s increasing exploitation on the coastal zone for shelter, food, recreation, and commerce. HABs are complex oceanographic phenomena that require multidisciplinary study ranging from molecular and cell biology to large-scale field surveys, numerical modelling, and remote sensing from space. Multi-lateral international programmes and bilateral initiatives are bringing scientists together from different countries and disciplines in a concerted attack on this complex and multi-faceted issue. Our understanding of these phenomena is increasing dramatically, and with this understanding come technologies and management tools that can reduce HAB incidence and impact. More effective HAB management is sure to be one major outcome of the growing investment in the Global Ocean Observing System. HABs will always be with us, and in the next few decades at least, are likely to continue to expand in geographic extent and frequency. Nevertheless, scientifically based management should permit full exploitation of fisheries, recreational, and commercial resources, despite the recurrent and diverse threat that HABs pose. This series of lectures is dedicated to the memory of the noted Danish oceanographer and first chairman of the Commission, Dr Anton Frederick Bruun. The "Anton Bruun Memorial Lectures" were established in accordance with Resolution 19 of the Sixth Session of the IOC Assembly, in which the Commission proposed that important inter-session developments be summarized by speakers in the fields of solid earth studies, physical and chemical oceanography and meteorology, and marine biology.
  • The Ocean is Losing its Breath: Declining Oxygen in the World’s Ocean and Coastal Waters – Summary for Policy Makers.

    Isensee, Kirsten; Chavez, Francisco; Conley, Daniel; Garçon, Véronique; Gilbert, Denis; Gutierrez, Dimitri; Jacinto, Gil; Levin, Lisa; Limburg, Karin; Montes, Ivonne; et al. (IOC-UNESCO, 2018)
    Oxygen is critical to the health of the ocean. It structures aquatic ecosystems and is a fundamental requirement for marine life from the intertidal zone to the greatest depths of the ocean. Oxygen is declining in the ocean. Since the 1960s, the area of low oxygen water in the open ocean has increased by 4.5 million km2, and over 500 low oxygen sites have been identified in estuaries and other coastal water bodies. Human activities are a major cause of oxygen decline in both the open ocean and coastal waters. Burning of fossil fuels and discharges from agriculture and human waste, which result in climate change and increased nitrogen and phosphorus inputs, are the primary causes.
  • Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP): status and trends in primary productivity and chlorophyll from 1996 to 2014 in Large Marine Ecosystems and the Western Pacific Warm Pool, based on data from satellite ocean colour sensors.

    O'Reilly, John E.; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC, 2017)
    This report is an output of the Large Marine Ecosystems component of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP), which was implemented from 2013–2015by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)and co-executed by the following lead agencies for each of the five transboundary water system categories that were assessed: the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for transboundary aquifers including groundwater systems in Small Island Developing States; the International Lake Environment Committee Foundation (ILEC) for lakes and reservoirs; the UNEP-DHI Partnership –Centre on Water and Environment (UNEP-DHI) for river basins; and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO for large marine ecosystems (LMEs) and the open ocean.The objective of the analysis presented in this report was to characterize the status and major trends in primary productivity and chlorophyllafor the world’s LMEsand the Western Pacific Warm Pool from 1996 to 2014, based on data obtained from five satellite ocean colour sensors. The current assessment is an update of the time series (January 1998 through December 2006)presented in The UNEP Large Marine Ecosystem Report: A perspective on changing conditions in LMEs of the world’s Regional Seas. A summary of this report is presented as Chapter 5.1 in:the TWAP LMEsassessment report (IOC-UNESCO and UNEP, 2016. Large Marine Ecosystems: Status and Trends. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi).The author thanks DrKimberly Hyde for providing a comprehensive time series of global SST data and for her assistance in the application of theOPAL productivity model; J.C. Landry for editorial and research assistance; Betsy Petersonfor editing and layout; and Sherry Heileman, Julian Barbière and Kenneth Sherman for their guidance and assistance. The financial support for this work was providedby the Global Environment Facility.
  • Lessons learnt and best practices of managing coastal risk from local communities’ perspectives: technical report.

    Roy, Sanjoy; Solís-Miranda, Natalia; Mabert, Brice Koumba; Hwedie, Kwadwo Osei; Noon, Vera; Thet Oo Mon; Gueye, Nassirou; Gómez-Erache, Mónica; Peralta-Brichtova, Ana Carolina; Garcia, Tiago; et al. (UNESCO-IOC, 2021)
    The coast forms a dynamic, interface zone where the land and sea realms meet and is characterised by some of the world’s most sensitive ecosystems, such as mangroves, wetlands, coral reefs, dunes and beaches. Unlike watersheds, coastal areas have no natural, clear nor precise boundaries. They are subjected continuously to the natural processes of weathering, coastal erosion, coastal flooding and sea-level rise. The impacts of these processes and events vary from one coastal zone to another depending on the geology and geomorphology of the coast and its exposure to natural processes. As the interface between land and sea, coastal areas perform many essential functions like natural protection against storms, regulation of water exchange between land and sea, regulation of the chemical composition of sediments and water, storage and recycling of nutrients and maintenance of biological and genetic diversity. From socio-economic perspectives, coastal zones are important settlement areas which play a critical role in the wealth creation of many nations as they offer access to fisheries and commerce, proximity to rich agricultural lowlands, aesthetic landscapes as well as cultural and recreational opportunities.
  • Recommendations to promote knowledge exchange and transfer on MSP.

    Núñez, Cristina Cervera; Campos, Alejandro Iglesias; da Silva, Michele Quesada (UNESCO-IOC, 2021)
    To date, capacity development in Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) has mostly targeted professionals directly involved in the development of MSP plans. However, MSP is a public process that must engage all levels of stakeholders effectively during the policy development, and, in order to accomplish it, stakeholders need to have the appropriate knowledge about MSP to take informed decisions. In this context, communication, knowledge exchange and transfer, and ocean literacy activities are key aspects that need to be promoted. Within capacity development, knowledge exchange is a two-way process of sharing different types of knowledge (technical, scientific and traditional), but also ideas and experiences. It is intended to be mutually beneficial and provide inputs to problem solving. Therefore, these recommendations were developed to advise professionals directly involved in the development of MSP plans on how to promote knowledge exchange and transfer towards other public authorities, private actors and civil society. These stakeholders are, indeed, the final users, implementers and beneficiaries of the MSP plans. The publication was developed in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 and its target on transfer of marine technology, as well as taking into account the “Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission”1 . The issue of which knowledge needs to be transferred, to whom and how to do it are aspects approached in this document, with concrete actions and recommendations whenever possible. What is Transfer of Marine Technology (TMT)? The United Nations Convention of the Law of The Sea (UNCLOS) contains a number of provisions dealing with transfer of marine technology (TMT). In this regard, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOC) is the only intergovernmental organization with a specific mandate in marine capacity building in all of the world’s ocean basins. Marine technology may include instruments, equipment, vessels, processes or methodologies required to produce and use knowledge to improve the study and understanding of the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal area.
  • What are Marine Ecological Time Series telling us about the ocean? A status report.

    O’Brien, Todd D.; Lorenzoni, Laura; Isensee, Kirsten; Valdés, Luis (UNESCO-IOC, 2017)
    Sustained ocean observations, including ships, autonomous platforms, and satellites, are critical for monitoring the health of our marine ecosystems and developing effective management strategies to ensure longterm provision of the marine ecosystem services upon which human societies depend. Ocean observations are also essential in the development and validation of ocean and climate models used to predict future conditions. Ship‐based biogeochemical time series provide the high‐quality biological, physical and chemical measurements that are needed to detect climate change‐driven trends in the ocean, assess associated impacts on marine food webs, and to ultimately improve our understanding of changes in marine biodiversity and ecosystems. While the spatial ‘footprint’ of a single time series may be limited, coupling observations from multiple time series with synoptic satellite data can improve our understanding of critical processes such as ocean productivity, ecosystem variability, and carbon fluxes on a larger spatial scale. The International Group for Marine Ecological Time Series (IGMETS) analyzed over 340 open ocean and coastal datasets, ranging in duration from five years to greater than 50 years. Their locations are displayed in a world map (Discover Ocean Time Series, and in the IGMETS information database ( These cross‐time‐series analyses yielded important insights on climate trends occurring both on a global and regional scale. At a global level, a generalized warming trend is observed over the past thirty years, consistent with what has been published by the IPCC (2013) report as well as other research. There are regional differences in temperature trends, depending on the time window considered, which are driven by regional and temporal expressions of large‐scale climatic forcing and atmospheric teleconnections. This warming is accompanied by shifts in the biology and biogeochemical cycling (i.e. oxygen, nutrient, carbon), which impact marine food webs and ecosystem services. The surface waters of the Arctic Ocean have been steadily warming over the past 30 years, from 1983‐2012. Chlorophyll biomass, as determined by satellite observations, has increased slightly over the past fifteen years, from 1998‐2012. The complexity of the Arctic marginal seas and central basin settings, and the scarcity of in situ data, limit the analysis of biogeochemical and biological community changes across the pan‐Arctic. The first comprehensive analysis of in situ time series provided for the North Atlantic Ocean revealed that, despite being the most studied region of the global ocean, there are large areas in this region still lacking multidisciplinary in situ observations. However, over the 25‐ and 30‐year analysis periods, > 95% of the North Atlantic Ocean significantly warmed and the chlorophyll concentrations decreased (p < 0.05). At the same time, negative trends in salinity, oxygen and nutrients, as exemplified by nitrate, were noted. The analysis of existing time series showed that even in adjacent areas that appear to be relatively homogenous, there is large variability in ecosystem behaviour over time, as observed in the continental shelves at both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. In general, over the 5‐year period prior to 2012, ~70% of the area of the South Atlantic showed cooling and 66% decreasing chlorophyll concentrations. However, over the past 30 years, > 85% of the South Atlantic increased in temperature. The paucity of in situ time series in this region, and the striking changes that have been reported in South Atlantic ecosystems over the past two decades, highlight the need to have a better observing system in place. Both long‐term trends and sub‐decadal cycles are evident in the Southern Ocean on multiple trophic levels, and they are strongly related in complex ways to climate forcings and their effects on the physical oceanographic system. Antarctic marine ecosystems have changed over the past 30 years in response to changing ocean conditions and changes in the extent and seasonality of sea ice. These changes have been spatially heterogeneous which suggests that ecological responses depend on the magnitude and direction of the changes, and their interactions with other factors. Of all the ocean basins, the Indian Ocean showed the greatest extent of warming, with 92% of its area showing a significant (p < 0.05) positive trend over 30 years, compared with the Atlantic (89%), the Pacific (66%), the Arctic (79%) and the Southern (32%) oceans. In addition to having a high degree of warming, the Indian Ocean also had the greatest proportion of its area (55%) showing a significant (p < 0.05) decline of chlorophyll between 1998 and 2012. Given the spatial scale of warming in the Indian Ocean, it does seem likely that climate impacts on marine ecosystems will be most pronounced in this basin. The Indian Ocean has very few in situ biogeochemical time series that can be used to assess impacts of climate change on biota or biodiversity. Over the past 30 years, significant (p < 0.05) surface warming has been recorded for 67% of the area of the South Pacific Ocean. A strong physical coupling with planktonic ecology and biology is evident in the South Pacific, with a dominant warming pattern and significantly declining phytoplankton populations. The North Pacific Ocean has undergone significant changes in ocean climate during the past three decades. Based on both satellite and ship‐based SST measurements, over 65% of its surface area has undergone significant warming since 1983 (p < 0.05). The patterns of change suggest that the PDO has been the dominant mode of climate variability in the North Pacific Ocean between 1983 and 2012. However, marked variability in SST has been observed, with episodes of warming in 2002, 2004 and 2010 interspersed with periods of cooling, particularly since 2008 due to the combined effects of La Niña and a negative, cooling PDO phase. Long‐term time series in the central, subarctic northeast and western North Pacific Ocean show an increase in phytoplankton biomass during the past 30 years. However, satellite observations suggest that over 65% of the surface of the North Pacific has experienced a decline in chlorophyll concentration since 1998. Available time series show an increase in zooplankton biomass in the waters off Hawaii, southern Vancouver Island and the western United States during the last 15 years but an overall decrease at most other locations, with no significant correlation between zooplankton biomass and chlorophyll. Nutrients, salinity and dissolved oxygen at the ocean surface appear to be negatively correlated with SST across the North Pacific. The IGMETS effort highlights the value of biogeochemical time series as essential tools for assessing, and predicting, global and regional climate change and its impacts on ecosystem services. The capacity to identify and differentiate anthropogenic and natural climate variations and trends depends largely on the length of the time‐series, as well as on the location. Most of the ship based ecological time series are concentrated in the coastal ocean. While coastal zones in North America and Europe are being monitored, there is a conspicuous lack of biogeochemical time‐series in other coastal regions around the world, and an almost complete absence of such observational platforms in the open ocean, which limits the capacity of analyses such as this. A more globally distributed network of time‐series observations over multiple decades will be needed to differentiate between natural and anthropogenic variability.
  • Tsunami watch operations: Global Service Definition Document.

    Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC, 2016)
    Through Resolution XXIV-14, the IOC Assembly at its 24th session decided on the establishment of a Working Group on Tsunamis and Other Hazards Related to Sea-Level Warning and Mitigation Systems (TOWS-WG), tasked primarily to advise the IOC Governing 3. AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ICGS The Area of Responsibility (AoR) of each regional tsunami warning system and the Area of Service (AoS) of Tsunami Service Providers (TSPs) operating within a regional tsunami warning system should be decided by respective ICGs. While addressing the above aspects, it is to be ensured that these systems should offer coverage to the coastal regions of all IOC as well as non IOC Member States that are vulnerable to a tsunami. IOC Technical Series, 130 Bodies on coordinated development and implementation activities on warning and mitigation systems for tsunamis and other hazards related to sea level of common priority to all Intergovernmental Coordination Group on Tsunami Warning and Mitigation Systems (ICG/TWSs). The Assembly adopted Resolution XXV-13 at its 25th Session in 2009, which established an Inter-ICG Task Team on Tsunami Watch Operations which has since been working towards working towards harmonization of methods and standards for issuance of tsunami advisories, advice on modalities of operation and develop guidelines for the requirements of Regional Warning Systems. This Task Team has already come up with several important recommendations to this effect. The TOWS-WG during its seventh meeting held at Paris in February 2014 actioned the Task Team to develop a Global Tsunami Service Definition Document based on agreed concepts and guidelines and informed by the Task Team report to TOWS-WG-IV. Accordingly, this document describes global tsunami warning services that are provided by regional tsunami warning systems operating in different ocean basins as a global system of systems and coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
  • Oceanographic and biological features in the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem.

    Valdés, Luis; Déniz‐González, Itahisa (UNESCO-IOC, 2015)
    The Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME) is one of the 4 major upwelling systems in the world. 54 marine scientists from 25 institutions have worked in a collaborative manner to make a complete characterization of the CCLME. The result is a detailed description of: (i) the ocean geomorphology and geological materials; (ii) the hydrographic structure and the ocean circulation; (iii) the biogeochemical characteristics of the marine ecosystem; (iv) the life in the sea; (v) and the interannual, interdecadal and long‐term variability. Here we present a summary of the oceanographic and biological features of the CCLME, based in reviews of the scientific knowledge built over decades of research in the area, combined with new data shared by the authors of each of the articles. The main conclusions of this global analysis are presented below, followed by the challenges for scientific research and management goals in the CCLME, which can be used to guide new scientific projects in the region. Ocean Geomorphology and Geological Materials  The CCLME shelf is the typical, in width and composition, of the passive continental margins. In general, the continental shelf has a mean width between 40–50 km, with exceptions like Bank D ́Arguin (widest) or Dakar (narrowest).  Geomorphological variations are the result of the sedimentary contributions associated to river basins. This river basins influence the genesis and the presence of the canyons in the platform and slope. These canyons are the main geomorphological features in the region. The sedimentary rocks have a maximum age of 200 Ma. It is important to remark the presence of a coral reef with more than 400 km of length in the shallowest Mauritania slope.  Although tectonic processes occur throughout the entire CCLME, they do not have a great influence.  The Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands Volcanic Provinces, placed within the CCLME, show sets of volcanic islands and seamounts related to magma‐driven processes over tens of millions of years at the Canary and Cape Verdean hotspots. Continuous volcanism in both provinces has been reported for the last 142 Ma (Upper Cretaceous) on the Canaries and the last 26 Ma (Oligocene) on Cape Verde Islands, with contemporary volcanism in both archipelagos and on different islands and seamounts.  Islands and seamounts of CCLME appear with complex or simple morphologies, dome‐shaped to irregular relieves, and total heights ranging 4000‐8000 m from the bottom to island highest peak (Teide‐Pico Viejo, Tenerife Island), but less than 3500 m on seamounts. The geomorphological studies in the intraplate volcanic islands confirm the presence of the island platform developed in the older islands, not observed in the younger islands. Gravitational slides and canyons have been detected in all the islands.  Seamounts are also biodiversity hotspots, where slopes modify the circulation regimen of both deep and shallow currents, and thus changing the biogeochemical constituents of seawater.  Other geomorphologies have been found in the CCLME, such as: (i) gravitational process like debris flows; (ii) salt domes; (iii) pockmarcks.  Atmospheric dust deposition is an important source of essential and limiting nutrients and metals to the ocean affecting the oceanic carbon uptake, phytoplankton growth and productivity.
  • Medium-term Strategy, Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (PTWS MTS) 2014–2021.

    Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC, 2013)
    The PTWS Medium-Term Strategy (PTWS MTS) outlines the vision of a continuously improving Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (PTWS) to meet stakeholder requirements during the period 2014–2021. This MTS is aligned with the eight year cycle of our parent body’s Medium–Term Strategy. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) MTS (Resolution XXVII-2, part B) identifies early warning systems as an important part of its strategic vision and has aligned its MTS with the strategic planning cycle of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The PTWS MTS focuses on describing general and essential strategic objectives to ensure an effective and efficient tsunami warning and mitigation system that is interoperable wherever possible with the other ocean basins and seas. The structure of the PTWS Working Group (WG) derives from the PTWS MTS and is described in the PTWS Working Group Structure document (ICG/PTWS-XXIII, Annex VI). Details of the methods of accomplishing these strategic objectives are defined in the PTWS Implementation Plan (version 2, 2001, draft document, IOC Technical Series No 86).
  • Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacents Regions (CARIBE-EWS), Implementation Plan 2013–2017. Version 2.0.

    Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC, 2013)
    This current version of the Implementation Plan (ImpPlan) 2013–2017 updates on the status of the system, specifications of the requirements for designing and establishing the system for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System in the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (CARIBE-EWS). It incorporates the work and views of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) and of the sessional and inter-sessional Working Groups (WGs), namely of the WG 1 (Monitoring and Detection Systems, Warning Guidance), of the WG 2 (Hazard Assessment), of the WG 3 (Warning Dissemination and Communication), and of the WG 4 (Preparedness, Readiness and Resilience). The structure of the ImPlan is based on the participation of each WG in the development of the Early Warning System (EWS). The 2008–2011 ImPlan proposed two phases of implementation. The Initial Phase involved the real-time seismic and sea level data exchange between existing Regional Seismic Networks (RSN) followed by the establishment of one or more Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) and one or several regional tsunami warning centres (RTWC). The Second Phase CARIBE-EWS (Fully-fledged CARIBE-EWS) was to focus on the full development of the Early Warning System, which would cover both distant and local earthquake generated tsunamis and, as science permits, tsunamis generated by volcanic activity or by landslides, in cooperation with regional networks with this area of expertise. Currently, the first phase can be considered to almost have been met. The new ImPlan will thus focus on the second phase including: (1) Vulnerability, (2) Hazard Assessment, (3) Monitoring and Detection Systems, (4) Tsunami Services, and (5) Public Awareness, Education and Resilience. It is to be noted that the implementation of the CARIBE-EWS is a complex process involving the Member States through their agencies and institutions as well as international organizations and local communities. In addition to the ICG Working Groups, the tasks are also to be completed thru task teams. This complexity implies that changes and on-the-way corrections are to be taken into account for this Implementation Plan in the course of the realization of the system, since implementation priorities, requirements or details may have to be adapted to new circumstances. Hence, the Implementation Plan will be at the same time a reference document, providing guidelines; and a dynamic document, reflecting the current status of the implementation of the Tsunami Warning System (TWS) at a given time. Updated versions of the Implementation Plan will be maintained at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) website and distributed at ICG/CARIBE-EWS sessions.
  • 27 February 2010 Chile Earthquake and Tsunami Event: Post-Event Assessment of PTWS Performance.

    Aliaga, Bernardo; Yamamoto, Masahiro; Mosquera, Diana Patricia; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC, 2010)
    A series of severe earthquakes hit Central Chile on Saturday, 27th February 2010. The main shock off Concepcion at 06:34 UTC (3:34 AM local time) had a magnitude of 8.8 Mw. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center PTWC in Hawaii, USA issued a regional warning at 06:46 UTC (12 minutes after the event). This was the first ocean wide test of a system that was put in place nearly 45 years ago by UNESCO’s Member States through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), after a 9.5 magnitude earthquake on 22 May 22 1960 off Chile triggered a wide ocean tsunami that caused 61 fatalities in Hawaii and 142 fatalities in Japan, several hours after the earthquake. As indicated above, 12 minutes after the 27th February 2010 earthquake the Pacific Ocean Tsunami Warning System (PTWS) went into action, with timely and adequate information produced and disseminated across the Pacific Ocean. There were no fatalities reported far from the epicenter, however, near the epicenter off the Chilean coast, official accounts indicate over 156 fatalities due to the tsunami. Preliminary measures of a Rapid Survey Team deployed the week after the event by UNESCO showed run up measurements as high as 30 meters with most common measurements between 6 and 10 meters in the most affected area of the Chilean coast. This earthquake and tsunami event presented an ideal opportunity to assess the performance of the PTWS. To that end the UNESCO/IOC Secretariat for the PTWS sent out a post-event survey questionnaire to the Tsunami Warning Focal Points (TWFPs) and Tsunami National Contacts (TNCs) from its 32 Member States and territories. This report has been prepared by the Secretariat based on the responses received from 19 TWFPs and TNCs. Factual details of the earthquake event and the tsunami are presented and the results of the survey are listed in tables and displayed as timelines and maps. We underscore that all TWFPs received the first PTWC bulletin. In addition, most of the countries reported PTWC as source of awareness of the earthquake. Fourteen countries issued a tsunami warning and in 9 Member States coastal zones were evacuated. It would be pertinent that each Member State analyze if an evacuation would have been necessary in zones where no evacuation was made. In four countries, some areas were evacuated preventively (self-evacuation). Moreover, it was observed that sea level was monitored by most of the countries. In addition, some countries used results from numerical modelling and calculated earthquake parameters. Based on data and information collected from Member States the PTWS acted promptly and efficiently throughout the Pacific. However, and at the same time, this event demonstrated the need to reinforce the work of PTWS for near field events, particularly with denser sea level real time networks close to active subduction areas. Indeed, as it has been demonstrated by the case of the sea level station located in Talcahuano, Chile, sea level stations close to the epicenter may be partially or totally destroyed by the impact of an earthquake and/or a tsunami. Given the critical role sea level readings have in all tsunami warning systems, the sea level monitoring networks should be densified close to active subduction areas and redundancy of sensors and transmission paths be strongly considered. Most of the issues revealed by the survey can be addressed both by the PTWS and at the national level through increased regional cooperation and training where needed. Post-event assessments assist in this process by highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the PTWS at regional, national and local levels and by raising the awareness of how Member States responded, both individually and collectively. The true value of such assessments is that it allows Member States to share information and experiences for the mutual benefit of improving the PTWS performance for all members.
  • Tsunami public awareness and education strategy for the Caribbean and Adjacent regions.

    Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC, 2013)
    The Tsunami Public Awareness & Education (PAE) Strategy for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions forms part of the Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Vulnerability in the Caribbean (ERC) initiative, funded by the Italian Development Cooperation (Government of Italy). The project’s core outputs include the establishment of a sustainable network of real-time decision support centres to facilitate early warning and post-disaster recovery; strengthened national disaster mechanisms to incorporate best practices in volunteerism; enhanced institutional capacities; and enhanced public awareness and education programmes for tsunamis and other coastal hazards. This Tsunami Public Awareness and Education Strategy focuses on building long-term education and awareness on how to prepare and respond to tsunamis for countries in the Caribbean and adjacent regions1. It concentrates on planning and preparedness rather than providing guidelines to manage crisis communications during a disaster. Earthquakes2 and other coastal hazards are also addressed since many countries are affected by hurricanes, coastal flooding, storm surges and landslides. Indeed, long-term success of this strategy will require strong correlation between public awareness and emergency responses to tsunamis, earthquakes and other coastal hazards. This is the first time that a tsunami awareness and educational strategy of this scope and magnitude has been developed for this region. It is the result of over seven months of extensive research, analysis and consultation with over 30 stakeholders during 2012 and 2013. Once this communications strategy is validated, a harmonized approach to tsunami public awareness and education can be used by countries and territories from the Caribbean and adjacent regions. Long-term implementation results of this framework are expected to standardize messaging, increase information flow, strengthen cooperation, and bring regional continuity amongst countries and partners. Tsunami education and awareness are made within the context of broader disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiatives including the establishment of a Caribbean Tsunami Information Centre (CTIC), and building and sustaining disaster resilience as a shared responsibility across the region. It is also expected to complement other public awareness and education (PAE) work being done in each of the countries. Global initiatives that underpin this framework include several priorities in the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the Post−2015 Framework for DRR, and the Post−2015 Development Agenda that will supersede the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Regional initiatives that also affect this document are the sustainable development agenda for the 2014 International Conference of Small Island Developing States, and the Regional Stakeholder Consultation on the Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy Beyond 2012 of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). This document uses as a starting point the 2009 Tsunami Smart® PAE Strategy initially drafted by CDEMA with input from several stakeholders, including the Seismic ResearchCentre (SRC). The Tsunami Smart® Strategy remains a good “How-To” manual for PAE Officers. The current strategy takes into account lessons learned from recent disasters, and integrates feedback from PAE practitioners in all relevant regions, particularly from Central and South America. It also incorporates lessons learned and best practices from the early warning component of the implemented Regional Risk Reduction Initiative (R3I) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for 11English and Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) and the US National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP). This communications strategy proposes that certain target audiences are more in need of public awareness and education than others. The following four areas were chosen so as to generate the highest potential public awareness impact which consequently would lead to the highest possible return on investment. These four communication approaches are listed below followed by the intended audience(s), in brackets:  Curriculum integration (education sector);  Specialized training (media, teachers, first responders, PAE professionals);  Community participation and input (multiple stakeholders);  Country/community designation or recognition by a program such as Tsunami Ready®. Communities could also become designated as “Marine and Coastal Hazards Ready”. If designation or recognition is not possible, at a minimum, install unaffiliated tsunami or other coastal hazard signage on key public beaches (tourism and private sectors, residents). Some of the strategic concepts discussed in this document include:  The changing role of a communicator from ‘implementer’ to ‘leverager’ and the resulting need for more partnerships, coordination of existing resources, and sharing information effectively, efficiently, and with the least cost.  The need for resource utilization that can be achieved through leveraging and content iteration rather than duplication.  The need to advocate for citizens to share the responsibility and take accountability for their own awareness. It is more than just the responsibility of the National Disaster Office (NDO) or PAE officers /governments.  The need for buy-in. PAE cannot work in isolation. It needs support from the National Disaster Office authorities, Ministers and Cabinet, elected officials, other key departments and from the media. Strong and exercised standard operating procedures (SOPs), policies and legislation are required to guide communications, particularly during emergencies.  The acknowledgement that this strategy focuses on long-term awareness and education on tsunamis to a variety of stakeholders rather than providing guidelines on doing crisis communications during a disaster.  The need to measure progress on projects and activities and take the pulse of the community at regular intervals. The strategy is not prescriptive because a one-size-fits-all formula that will work best for all countries does not exist. Each island/country is unique with unique economic, political, cultural factors that guide in the implementation of PAE. This strategy provides each country and territory with overall guidance and a range of options. It is then incumbent upon eachjurisdiction to do the due diligence using environmental and national analyses3 to adapt this framework to regional/local experiences and realities. This allows flexibility to prioritize target groups, approaches and tools/processes according to available resources. This Tsunami PAE Strategy identifies key areas that are common to all and which could have powerful multiplier effects when adapted and utilized by a majority of countries and territories in the region. It is acknowledged however that changing public perception and behaviour takes time. Behavioural communication guidelines show that real change requires about five years to begin to notice differences, and close to ten years for sustainable change. This could also be approximately the same number of years it could take to add or change a country’s educational curriculum. This reinforces the need to undertake continuous evaluation of the PAE already completed and to update this Tsunami PAE Strategy every two to three years.

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