The ICES Working Group on Seasonal-to-Decadal prediction of marine ecosystems (WGS2D) aims to produce forecasts of marine ecological variables for use by other ICES working groups, particularly those from the monitoring and advice communities. The focus of the group is wide, and has initially centred on predicting spatial distribution of species for use in survey design. Recruitment predictions are also being trialled, together with other variables such as timing and growth. The group is also interested in evaluating the value of forecasts in conjunction with management strategy evaluations, as well as how forecasts and their limitations should be communicated.
The group would particularly like to find people and working groups from the ICES advice and monitoring communities with specific problems which would benefit from the creation of a forecasting system. This could be based on a previously published paper or piece of knowledge, or even just a good hunch. Working together, the forecasts will be developed, tested, produced and evaluated for use within the ICES community.
The first WGS2D forecast product is a forecast of the spatial distribution of blue whiting spawning habitat. Forecasts were produced in October 2017 and January 2018 for the March/April 2018 distribution, and have been taken into consideration by the Working Group of International Pelagic Surveys (WGIPS). The full forecast sheet can be viewed online. Other forecasts are under development and are expected to follow a similar format.
The 2018 meeting will be held from 27-31 August at ICES Secretariat in Copenhagen. If you are interested in participating, or for more information, contact the group Chair, Mark Payne.
The first WGS2D product, showing the forecast of spawning distribution for blue whiting in March 2018 was issued in January. Distribution is represented here as the probability of observing blue whiting larvae and is plotted as a) the value and b) the anomaly relative to the climatological probability (1960-2010). The forecast indicates a highly compressed distribution against the continental shelf edge, reflecting unusual oceanographic conditions, with minimal spawning on or to the west of Rockall Plateau. The area and westward extent of spawning are forecast to be among lowest since 1950.