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SAEON scientist outlines a new standards and best practices vision for JCOMM

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Oceanographer Juliet Hermes is the manager of SAEON’s Egagasini Node

Earlier this year, Juliet Hermes, manager of SAEON’s Egagasini Node, was invited to be the Vice Chair Standards and Best Practices of the Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) Observation Coordination Group.

JCOMM is an intergovernmental body of technical experts. It provides a mechanism for international coordination of oceanographic and marine meteorological observing, data management and services, combining the expertise, technologies and capacity building capabilities of the meteorological and oceanographic communities.

The creation of this joint technical commission results from a general recognition that worldwide improvements in coordination and efficiency may be achieved by combining the expertise and technological capabilities of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). JCOMM has two co-presidents, one of whom is Mr Johan Stander from the South African Weather Service (SAWS).

JCOMM consists of a number of observation programme areas: Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP); Ship Observations Team (SOT) (Voluntary Observing Ship Scheme and ASAP » and Ship of Opportunity Program »); Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS); Argo Profiling Float Program; Ocean reference stations – Oceansites; International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP); and the Global Ocean Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Programme, GO-SHIP.

There are also a number of new programme areas which are becoming part of JCOMM. These include the Ocean Glider and HF Radar programmes. JCOMM is moreover discussing synergies with the animal-borne sensors programmes.

Every year the Observation Coordination Group meets with the programme area coordinators and members of the WMO and IOC to discuss progress and plans. The status of the observing systems and other information can be found at:

Juliet is no stranger to JCOMM and its programmes. In 2015, when the Observation Coordination Group meeting was hosted in Cape Town, she had the opportunity to meet with the key members. Prior to this she was involved in Data Buoy Cooperation Panel capacity building and in the Argo steering committee.

2017 Observation Coordination Group meeting

This year’s meeting, which was held in Qingdao, China, saw Juliet’s first involvement as a member. During the meeting she presented the draft Standards and Best Practices vision, namely:

  • To identify, coordinate and promote the development of standards and best practices documents across the ocean observing (including biogeochemistry) and marine meteorological platforms of JCOMM, partner networks and activities;
  • To catalogue and review them, and identify gaps and areas where a holistic approach across platforms and variables can be taken; and
  • To create a review, publication and evaluation process, encourage use and provide training in support of delivering multiplatform datasets by variable of known quality.

Argo Education Workshop

In addition, Juliet was able to secure partial funding at the meeting for the Egagasini Node’s education officer, Thomas Mtontsi, to attend the Argo Education Workshop in France at the beginning of June (watch out for the article in the next newsletter).

She also took the opportunity to discuss potential future collaborative cruises and projects with the Chinese oceanographers present at the meeting.


Participants in the 2017 JCOMM Observation Coordination Group meeting

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