The Pacific Islands are a region of “Large Ocean States” in which 98% of the region is ocean, and the majority of the land area is part of Papa New Guinea. The ocean is essential to Pacific Islander’s way of life, yet there is limited knowledge of the oceans in region, and limited skill in using ocean data. Despite a growing awareness of the importance of the oceans, oceanographic capacity is limited within the Pacific Islands region, and generally resides within local meteorological services. However, there is a strong interest in increasing capacity to collect, analyse, and communicate oceanographic data across a number of sectors such as meteorology and climate services, fisheries, marine trade, and tourism. Increasing capacity in these sectors will increase the livelihoods of Pacific Islanders, and will allow them to more effectively engage in the global ocean community.
The workshop themes were to increase awareness of ocean processes, observing, and data applications for society and advance the conceptualisation of a Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS). Country representatives provided an assessment of ocean observing capacity and planned programs they are undertaking. Sessions were also held to learn how to access available regional observations data and models of ocean climate and weather.
IMOS and partners are increasingly engaging in the Western Pacific through forums such as this as well as the Tropical Pacific Observing System 2020, US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and PacIOOS and Global Ocean Acidification-Observing Network. A report summarising action items is in preparation and will soon be available.