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South African Needs

There is a world-wide need to understand, model and predict conditions in the ocean as the meteorological services do for the weather. This is done by satellite and in–water observations with data being collected and used in mathematical models in real time – this is what we call “operational oceanography”. A South African committee was convened to put this into practice, in a delicate political process to give each institution a place in keeping with its mandate. The SA Operational Oceanography Committee has four sub-groups:

  1. In situ observations (lead Institution: SA Dept of Environmental Affairs: Oceans and Coasts)
  2. Satellite Observations (lead Institution: Marine Remote Sensing Unit, UCT)
  3. Ocean Modeling (lead Institution: ACCESS)
  4. Data dissemination (lead Institution: SAEON)

The Centre serves to bring data from in situ and satellite observations into ocean models. It is a specialised joint venture under the Ma-Re umbrella.

UCT has multiple roles in Operational Oceanography: in training the new generation of operational oceanographers, of hosting the marine satellite remote sensing unit, and in ocean modelling along with and within ACCESS. It was decided to set up a joint venture, which for historical reasons in Norway, is to be called a Centre, the “Nansen – Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research”. This is the only Nansen Centre in the Southern Hemisphere.