June 2022 OES Beacon

A Report on the IEEE OES Sponsored Sessions at Oceans Sciences Meeting 2022 (OSM22)

Venugopalan Pallayil, Jay Pearlman, René Garello

OES has been a technical sponsor for the OSM22 Meeting held during Feb 27th to Mar 4th. This is the first time OES has been engaged with OSM. The meeting was originally planned to be a hybrid event but was later converted to a fully virtual programme due to the Omicron virus scare. This in a way limited opportunities for direct interaction with the participants. Even so, the technical sessions organized by IEEE OES were largely successful and continued participation in the future OSM is recommended.

OES organized 6 technical sessions and one town hall. Below is a summary of the sessions and names of lead session organizers/chairs. All sessions were reasonably well attended. In the following sections the session chairs and organisers provide their perspective on how well the sessions were organized and their feedback for future similar events.

Session Details Organisers/Session Chairs Remarks
OD06: Machine Learning for Oceanographic Applications Chair: Michael Bianco

Co-Chairs: Venugopalan Pallayil & Hanu Singh

9 abstracts. One session of 6 papers and 3 posters. (26 attendees)


OS10: Marine Litter and Microplastic Monitoring and Understanding Chair: Rene Garello

Co-Chairs: Mishra Pravakar Audrey Hasson,  Bhavani Narayanswam


8 abstracts. One session of 6 papers and 1 poster, 1 withdrawn
OS11: Observing and Predicting the Global Coastal Ocean. Chair: Emma Heslop 20 abstracts, 2 sessions of 6 papers, one session of 7 papers and 1 poster
OM02: Pairing autonomous monitoring with modelling to expand capacity and develop new understanding of coastal ocean systems Chair: Brandy Armstrong 8 abstracts, one session of 6 papers and 2 posters
OT17: Ocean Observation for the Small Island Developing State Chair: Venkatesan Ramaswamy 8 abstracts, 1 session (no posters)
HL14: Autonomous Sensing and Monitoring in Polar environments. Chair: Andreas Marouchos Co-chair: Venugopalan Pallayil 13 abstracts and one withdrawal. One session of 6 papers and one session of 5 papers. 1 poster (36 attendees)
TH04: Connecting early career ocean professionals with academia and industry experts Chair: Hari Vishnu

Co-Chair: Venugopalan Pallayil

35-40 min presentation. 20 min interaction time.


 OD06 Session Chair, Michael Bianco:

Figure 1. Michael Bianco chairing the OD06 session

The use of Machine Learning (ML) for analysis of geophysical data is now ubiquitous in academia and industry. In this session, we brought together scientists and practitioners from a range of related disciplines in Earth and oceanographic signal processing, who are using and developing cutting-edge ML-based analysis techniques. We were specifically interested in examining issues relevant to the use of ML in a broad range of oceanographic and Earth sensing modalities, including acoustics, optics, and sensor array processing. Challenges  addressed included ML-model generalization in uncertain environments, lack of labelled datasets (e.g. unsupervised and semi-supervised learning), and ML model prediction confidence). We also had contributions towards statistical sampling strategies and techniques as applied to ML in the area of ocean sensing and monitoring. Many processing techniques presented could help us in our understanding of oceans better and also contribute to the UN Decade of Oceans theme ‘The science we need for the oceans we want’.

“I really enjoyed the session yesterday. Overall, I thought our talks went well, and I was happy to see that those in attendance were engaged. There are indeed many  opportunities for ML in Ocean and Earth science broadly, and we were able to showcase a diversity of perspectives and problem sets. I was honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the IEEE OES program, and I look forward to working together again in the future”


HL14 Session Chair, Andreas Marouchos:

Figure 2. Andreas engaged in the HL14 session

The Polar regions, the Arctic, the Antarctic and Greenland, are undergoing significant change due to anthropogenic forcing. Despite their critical importance in understanding climate change, these regions remain some of the most under-sampled regions on the planet.  In this session the focus was on the role autonomous sensing and monitoring to enhance our ability to map these areas both spatially and temporally, especially in areas that are remote and difficult to get to, and to obtain measurements that span winter, spring and fall in the austral regions as opposed to most measurements that are made in austral summers. The session was attended by engineering community and field scientists across a variety of disciplines to build bridges across these somewhat disparate communities. The session had significance with respect to the UN Decade of Oceans actions related to cost effective and reliable technologies for ocean mapping and climate change.

“As part of OSM22 The Autonomous Sensing and Monitoring in Polar Environments session received numerous abstracts, which were sorted into two oral sessions and one poster session. The poster session was focused on the science delivery of platforms while the two oral sessions presented novel work in the area of autonomous sensing platforms and applications respectively. It was a genuine pleasure to engage in technical discussion as part of the Ocean Sciences Meeting and attendees to each of the sessions were engaged and asked pointed questions. In particular, during the second oral session there was a long series of questions and discussion around the autonomous measurement of ocean carbon in the Southern Ocean and what strategies might be employed to help address the lack of observations in that region. It was great to see scientists and engineers who normally work in the Arctic get engaged in a discussion on Antarctic observing and to share thoughts and experiences. This is exactly the kind of cross-hemisphere engagement we are hoping to grow as part of the Polar Oceans Technology Committee. We look forward to engaging with OSM in the future and hosting additional sessions on marine autonomy”


Figure 3. A snapshot of the OT17 session chaired by Venkat in progress

OT17 Session Chair, Venkatesan Ramaswamy:

“Under the UN Decade, there is an enhanced focus to develop science for the society and for the Small Island Developing State (SIDS) to address the climate change risk and impacts from extreme weather events and sea level rise. Further to develop and implement nature-based solutions and benefit from the blue economy. SIDS are the most vulnerable state subjected to vagaries of the Ocean. Still out of 25 Island states on the basis of population and area, not even 10 of these Island nations have sustained ocean observations. This session focussed on Ocean Observation for SIDS with objectives to highlight the need to have ocean observations, capacity to apply ocean observations for social and economic benefit, and to improve the forecasts for severe weather events experienced by SIDS. An open discussion was followed after the presentations by the panellist. Under the UN Decade, there is an enhanced focus to develop science for the society and for the Small Island Developing State (SIDS) which include addressing the climate change risk and impacts from extreme weather events and sea level rise. developing and implementing nature-based solutions and benefit from the blue economy etc. The panel of speakers emphasised the need to educate the coastal population about the importance of ocean observations. apprise them of the cost of ocean observing systems and proposed the concept of citizen scientists in ocean observations.


Figure 4 Jay Pearlman’ talk in the HL11 session

OS11 Session Chair, Emma Heslop:

The UN Ocean Decade program “CoastPredict” worked with IEEE to sponsor three OSM sessions on observing and understanding coastal dynamics. The CoastPredict  goal is to achieve a predicted global coastal ocean where society understands and can respond to changing ocean conditions. A transformative aspect of CoastPredict is to embrace the coastal ocean as the area that extends from inland waters around coastal cities to the nearshore, shelf and ocean environments. These sessions had presentations that included enhanced ocean observations at regional and local scale, extending the existing regional observing capabilities. The first session of the OS11 series was on  CoastPredict and coastal modeling.  Other presentations in this session included: Operational Modeling Capacity in European Seas: Assessment and Recommendations from the EuroGOOS coastal working group; and Design and implementation of an integrated coastal observing system at regional scale. In the third session, there were presentations of infrastructures to support coastal modeling. This included presentations on: “Towards best practices for global interoperable coastal ocean observing and forecasting through the use of the Ocean Best Practices System” and another providing a  description of a comprehensive coastal ocean resource environment.


OS10 Session Chair: Rene Garello

Marine litter is of growing global concern and is a multi-dimensional problem with economic, environmental, cultural, and human health costs. While quantitative information on production and use of plastics is to a large extent available, the fate of plastics discarded or leaked into the environment is highly uncertain. In particular, knowledge of how much plastic at different scales, down to micro and nano levels, reaches the ocean and the trajectories of the plastic in the ocean remain poorly known.

After the abstracts were accepted (7 oral presentations and 1 poster), the session was organized around the main theme of modelling and tracking the circulation of macro-plastics and estimating the abundance of plastics (macro and micro) from the estuaries to the oceans.

One paper was withdrawn, and the oral session on March 1st 2022 was entirely virtual. Half of the session was dedicated to the presentations and the other half to questions and answers. The session was correctly attended, provided the odd hours for some countries. The presentations are still available on the OSM website (for registered members) at: https://osm2022.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/3/sessiongallery/schedule/items/99.

The following topics were addressed:

  • Tracking marine litter with a global ocean model: Where does it go? Where does it come from?

Eric Chassignet, Florida State University, USA

Microplastics in estuarine waters: surface layer vs. water column  

Daniel González-Fernández, University of Cádiz, Spain

  • Plastic PPE litter on beaches estimating abundance through Citizen Science and standardized sampling techniques  

Bonnie Ertel, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, USA

·           Monitoring and modelling the circulation of marine debris: the case study of riverine inputs from Indonesia  

Christophe Maes, IRD-CNRS-IFREMER-UBO, LOPS Brest, France

  • Numerical Model Approach on Vertical Motion of Microplastics absorbed into Algae Aggregations  

Miho Yoshitake, Kyushu University, Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University

  • Distribution variability and dynamics of Microplastics in water and biota along Southern Mediterranean Coasts  

Sana Ben Ismail, INSTM, Research Council, Institute for the Study of Anthropic Impact and Sustainability in the Marine Environment, Genova, Italy