18th April: Ocean Business 2023

I had decided to go to the Ocean Business 2023 exhibition at the National Oceanography Centre partly because there was a talk on the Global Ocean Observing System, with which I used to be involved, and partly just to see what was going on!

Walking to NOC from home (as I did many times in the past) I was surprised to see that what I think was the “Plume of Feathers” pub is now Southampton Buddhist Centre; nice that they kept the pub sign!

Sitting in the NOC cafeteria before the meeting I met a previous colleague from the James Rennell research division, Steve Hall.  I had put my NCI affiliation on my Conference badge and in talking about that, discovered that Steve had been an observer at the Royal Observer Corps station at Stone Point!  He said that the observers who had a local background would never call it “Stone Point”, but rather “Lepe” which possibly adds to our theory that the name “Stone Point” was simply an Ordnance Survey mapping error!

Looking out from the cafeteria at Empress Dock it looked more like Setley Pond on a Solent Radio Controlled Model Boat Club day, there were so many remotely controlled vessels on the water.

In the exhibition I got a phone call from NCI Stone Point and, having gone outside for a quieter spot to phone back, I ended up going into NOC via a different door.  There I saw a poster for the Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) and VOS Climate Subset – VOSClim. I don’t think the poster is new, but talking to the Met. Office technicians working in the instrument lab by the poster, apparently VOSClim is still alive and continuing.  I’d briefly talked to Emma Heslop, Acting Director for GOOS at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commision (of UNESCO) before the Conference and was told that surface fluxes are still a major concern for GOOS.

When I retired I had the feeling that the International work I had done with the VOS had achieved little but maybe it did have a significant effect after all.  By chance I recently came across a Frontiers in Marine Science paper where some of my (very old) FORTRAN coding work was acknowledged, I hope it was correct!