Marine scientists have long dreamed of being able to forecast life in the ocean, but with little success. However, recent decades have seen a quiet revolution in the ability of scientists to measure and predict the state of the ocean: today, for example, it is possible to make skilful forecasts of the temperature of the North Atlantic up to 10 years into the future. But for the ICES community to realise the benefits of this scientific breakthrough, it is first necessary to translate this data (e.g. temperature) into quantities that are relevant to those making decisions (e.g. fish distributions for survey planning, recruitment for stock assessment groups).
This is the goal of ICES Working Group for Seasonal-to-Decadal Prediction of Marine Ecosystems (WGS2D). The group aims to combine existing scientific knowledge with observations and predictions of the state of the ocean to regularly-deliver forecast products that are of value to the ICES community. Forecast-users have a key role to play in the group's work by identifying, specifying, helping to develop and critiquing any potential forecast product.
This network session aims to lay the groundwork for the next generation of marine ecological forecast products in Europe. Firstly, the session will raise awareness in the ICES community of how ecological forecasts are being made and used elsewhere in the world to improve decision making in the marine sector, drawing on examples from Australia, the United States and the work to date of WGS2D. Secondly, the session will attempt to identify a new set of candidate forecast products from the community that can be potentially developed together in conjunction with WGS2D. When combined, it is hoped that these two activities can drive science, advice and monitoring within the ICES community into a new era where forecasting the ocean and the organisms it contains is not just a dream, but an integral part of our work.