The focus theme at the OCEANS 2022 conference plenary had a clear message for the attendees
27 July, 2023
The start of the long-awaited OCEANS 2022 conference in Hampton roads, took place at the facilities of the Virginia convention Center in the city of Hampton Roads. In this article, we briefly cover the topics of the first plenary session conducted on 18th October 2022. The session focused on coastal resilience as a necessary adaptation to climate changes that are occurring due to global warming and the correlation established between the sea and the air through various natural phenomena.
The session was hosted by the co-chair of the conference, Dr. Ray Toll, and began with the words of welcome to the attendees by the presidents of the organizing societies: Christopher Whitt, president of the IEEE Oceanic engineering society and Zdenka Willis, president of the Marine Technology Society, who highlighted the importance of the joint work of the two societies, the local organizing committee, and the sponsors.
Coastal resilience focus: After this, there was a talk by Dr. Tom Drake, Head of the Ocean battlespace and Expeditionary access department office of naval research (ONR). He gave a presentation on the landscape, definition and importance of Coastal Resilience, highlighting examples of cities that have been affected by fast-paced environmental events which have left a high impact on the communities.
Additionally, he explained the importance of working together with government entities, educational institutions and private companies for the detection and measurement of atmospheric and oceanographic variables in order to have a better response to natural events such as hurricanes and floods.
Sea-air interaction: The second talk in the plenary was given by Dr. Carol Anne Clayson, Associate director for research strategies & Senior Scientist in the department of physical oceanography Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). She gave an explanation on sea-air interaction processes via her "Atmospheric Engine" illustration. This was complemented with graphs and simulation figures of variable changes such as wind, salinity, and temperature at different scales, which were obtained with satellite images.
She also mentioned different initiatives for monitoring atmospheric conditions such as the United Nations Observing Air-Sea Interactions Strategy project, the Ocean & Climate Innovation Accelerator launched by WHOI and Analog Devices, Inc. and the “Butterfly” satellite, which aims to measure atmospheric conditions and estimate their impact on the climate on a small and large scale.
Concluding the first plenary was a representative from policy makers. Virginia State Senator Tim Kaine spoke about the importance of multi-dimensional conferences like OCEANS focusing on this vast sector, where stakeholders meet and seek solutions to help communities deal with problems caused by different natural disasters. He also highlighted the importance of using environmentally friendly technologies and how public policies should be oriented towards the goal of reducing the carbon footprint and ecological impact on the planet.
Overall, the plenary contained a good mix of talks covering both the technical experts’ and policy-makers’ viewpoints, and touched upon important topics covering climate change impacts and drivers, which is one of the most necessary discussions in the current global frame of things.