Written by Savannah Hartman
Honolulu, Hawaii – Here on the island of O’ahu, the College of Marine Science’s Institute of Marine Remote Sensing (IMaRS) lab members are attending one of the most important conferences held for ocean users. OceanObs ’19 is the latest conference in a decadal conference series that focuses on ocean observations. The College’s own Dr. Frank Muller-Karger volunteered hours upon hours of his time to create a wonderful experience for all attendees as he worked with his colleagues on the Program Committee.
This is truly an amazing opportunity for the 1,500 attendees and those that could not join us here in Honolulu. This collaborative experience joins together individuals from over 63 countries and has quintupled in size since its inception in 1999. During the weeklong conference, attendees ranging from oceanographers to data scientists, engineers, and policymakers hope to untangle some of the following questions (found on the OceanObs ’19 website):
- Information – How do we meet future user needs?
- Interoperability – How can we better communicate among observing systems to deliver products for users that follow usability and other best practices across the globe?
- Innovation – How can we spur innovation in observing technologies, products, and user services?
- Integration – How can we balance user and operator needs, capabilities, and knowledge worldwide?
I am so proud and happy to be here to help our community through the next decade until we meet again in 2029. As I sat in the conference room listening with rapt attention to every word, I could not help but feel the passion and urgency as speaker after speaker discussed how we needed to act and how we needed to collaborate with each other and the community to protect this beautiful planet we call home. In the words of Craig McLean (NOAA Chief Scientist known recently for his promised investigation of NOAA’s ethics in regard to the agency’s response to President Trump’s claims about Hurricane Dorian), “We are not alarmists. We are simply stating the facts.” Every member attending this conference hopes to accomplish lasting achievements that will help lead the world through what the U.N. considers the Decade of Ocean Science (2021-2030).