UN Ocean Conference

Ocean Observing, Island Nation Collaboration Top Agenda for Scripps at UN Ocean Conference

Event beginning June 26 will address crisis facing global oceans

Global policymakers convene this week at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal to identify problems plaguing the world’s oceans and devise strategies to preserve them. A contingent from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego will attend the event to present research that institution leaders hope will lead to solutions.

Ocean protection goals have only entered into the texts of international talks on climate change in the past five years, but the oceans have borne the greatest brunt of global warming, absorbing more than 90 percent of the heat human activities have added to the Earth system. They face additional pressures from pollution, overfishing, and increased extraction of resources from the seafloor. The Ocean Conference exists in part as acknowledgement that too little is known about the oceans for society to know how to protect them.

Scripps Oceanography Director Margaret Leinen will be joined at the conference by top ocean researchers, data scientists, and students representing the institution. Separately, Leinen serves as co-chair of the Decade Advisory Board for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and is a member of the distinguished Leadership Council of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative.

Other Scripps attendees include biological oceanographer Lisa Levin, who is part of an international team of scientists advocating for a dedicated decade-long program of research to greatly advance discovery in the deep oceans. The program – which scientists have named Challenger 150 – will coincide with the Decade of Ocean Science. Marine ecologist Erin Satterthwaite is coordinator of the iconic ocean measurement program CalCOFI and a specialist on ocean sustainability related to marine biodiversity, fisheries, social-ecological systems, and participatory and citizen science.

“Top ocean leaders from around the world will come together at the UN Ocean Conference to make commitments to protect marine areas, reduce ocean pollution and increase sustainability,” Leinen said. “They are also asking scientists like those at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to help them track changes in the ocean, understand their impact on all of us, and find solutions to major problems like sea-level rise, ocean acidification and loss of marine habitat and biodiversity.”

Scripps Oceanography researchers will take part in several events during the conference, which runs through July 2. Among them is the July 1 multi-panel event “Ocean Observing for Ocean Sustainability,” which will be notable for offering a rare gathering of the leaders of five of the world’s top ocean research institutions. Leinen will be joined by her counterparts from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, France’s IFREMER, and the National Oceanography Centre in England. The leaders are slated to discuss the role improved ocean observing technology can play in improving the sustainability of ocean systems and give their takeaways from the ocean conference as it nears its conclusion. 

Additional UN Ocean Conference events featuring Scripps participants:

June 27 

Grand Challenges in Ocean Science for a Sustainable Future - Lisa Levin

June 28

How the ocean can help us solve our climate crisis—Putting science first - Margaret Leinen

June 29

Seabed 2030–Mapping for People and Planet - Lisa Levin

June 30

Future Earth's marine networks: a trans- and interdisciplinary scientific community working toward the achievement of the SDGs - Erin Satterthwaite

About Scripps Oceanography

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego is one of the world’s most important centers for global earth science research and education. In its second century of discovery, Scripps scientists work to understand and protect the planet, and investigate our oceans, Earth, and atmosphere to find solutions to our greatest environmental challenges. Scripps offers unparalleled education and training for the next generation of scientific and environmental leaders through its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. The institution also operates a fleet of four oceanographic research vessels, and is home to Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the public exploration center that welcomes 500,000 visitors each year.

About UC San Diego

At the University of California San Diego, we embrace a culture of exploration and experimentation. Established in 1960, UC San Diego has been shaped by exceptional scholars who aren’t afraid to look deeper, challenge expectations and redefine conventional wisdom. As one of the top 15 research universities in the world, we are driving innovation and change to advance society, propel economic growth and make our world a better place. Learn more at ucsd.edu.

Sign Up For
Explorations Now

explorations now is the free award-winning digital science magazine from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Join subscribers from around the world and keep up on our cutting-edge research.