Dr John Field awarded IOC-UNESCO medal

20 Jul 2015 - 11:15

Dr John Field, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Oceanography and deputy-director for the Marine Research Institute at UCT, received the IOC-UNESCO N.K. Panikkar Memorial Medal for his memorial lecture that he delivered on 17th June at the Ocean Science Day.  His lecture was entitled, "From the Indian Ocean to World Ocean and back in 50 years".  Recent developments in ocean science were presented to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) 147 Member States, networks and partners.  The overall objective was to improve decision makers' understanding and awareness of current challenges and emerging issues around ocean science and governance through lectures, and panel discussions with eminent experts.

Presentations and debates focused on the linkages between ocean health and human wellbeing, the potential of the latest advancements in monitoring technology, current scientific challenges in the Artic and the legacy of the International India Ocean Expedition (IIOC) as well as the need to develop new ocean knowledge and technologies for the benefit of society.

Dr Field shared his experience on board cruise 7 of RV Anton Bruun during the first International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) in the 1960s. The IIOE was one of the greatest international, interdisciplinary oceanographic research efforts.  It was carried out from 1962 to 1965, with over 40 oceanographic research vessels participating under 14 different flags. It was a remarkable success, and began to illuminate the Indian Ocean’s far-reaching influences on surrounding regions and the globe in general through tele-connected ocean/climate processes.

Now, 50 years later, IOC-UNESCO is planning the second IIOE in partnership with the Scientific Committee for Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Indian Ocean GOOS (IOGOOS), to take place from 2016 to 2020.

Dr. Field provided insights on the legacy of the first IIOE, and the fundamental changes that have revolutionized our understanding of the global ocean in the 50 years since then and exploring the potential of IIOE-2 in light of new technological advances