At a special side event of the World Meteorological Organization’s recently concluded virtual Regional Association for South America (RAIII) session, members and approximately 100 South American meteorological and oceanographic professionals joined to discuss ocean priorities, focusing on developing a cooperation roadmap.
Professor Celeste Saulo, WMO first vice president and acting president of RAIII, chaired the event, which included a keynote presentation from the former Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC) executive secretary Dr Patricio Bernal (Chile). Dr Bernal set the context for future cooperation, intended to build on the strengths of past collaborations. This will include investigation of El Niño in the context of the South Eastern Pacific, as well as the Global Ocean Observing System Regional Alliances in the Pacific and Atlantic.
Dr Ken Takahashi, permanent representative of Peru with WMO and member of the World Climate Research Programme Joint Scientific Committee, described the critical issues around the El Niño phenomena in the South Eastern Pacific region and highlighted the need for more in-situ observations to provide real-time information for sudden onset of ocean warming. He also emphasized the importance of promoting more ocean data exchange among countries and with the global community. Commander Daniel Peixoto de Carvalho, commander, Navy Hydrographic Centre, Brazil, and METAREA V coordinator for Brazil, also noted the need for more observations and cooperation across the region, to deliver better-quality maritime and coastal forecasts.
Dean of the Marine Sciences Faculty at Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL), Ecuador, Professor Pilar Cornejo, focused on the need to involve universities and young professionals in the institutional networks of oceanographic and meteorological institutions, and foster cooperation between the WMO Global Campus, the OceanHub from IOC and the universities in the region. She remarked on the crucial requirement for marine data and information exchange to support the Sustainable Development Goals.