SAEON participates in OCIMS Stakeholder Engagement Workshop
By Zach Smith, Systems Developer, Egagasini Node, NRF-SAEON
By Zach Smith, Systems Developer, Egagasini Node, NRF-SAEON
As part of its commitment to advancing the South African marine science community, SAEON recently participated in the annual National Oceans and Coastal Information Management System (OCIMS) stakeholder workshop. With an array of presentations and constructive dialogues, SAEON underscored its pivotal role in fostering oceanographic data and technological innovation.
SAEON’s participation highlighted the work of the uLwazi, Egagasini and Elwandle nodes in marine information management and high-resolution ocean forecasting, which forms a fundamental part of the Sustainable Ocean Modelling Initiative: A South African Approach (SOMISANA).
The stakeholder workshop marked the start of important collaborative work that spans some of South Africa’s premier institutions. SAEON’s numerical modelling is informed by high-resolution wind data from the South African Weather Service (SAWS), high-resolution bathymetry data from the South African Navy Hydrographic Office (SANHO) and close cooperation with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The stakeholder workshop marked the start of important collaborative work that spans some of South Africa’s premier institutions (Photo: DFFE)
The node’s senior operational ocean modeller, Dr Giles Fearon, and operational ocean modeller, Nkululeko Memela, recently joined the OCIMS effort under the SAEON umbrella, and under the guidance of Dr Jennifer Veitch (numerical ocean modeller) and Professor Juliet Hermes, manager of the Egagasini Node.
The Egagasini team presented pioneering efforts in the construction of an advanced ocean forecast system as part of the SOMISANA initiative. The system is live, with operational data covering the Southwestern Cape and Algoa Bay regions generally available in myriad forms – a file format for everyone.
SOMISANA is developing at a rate of knots. Once completed, high-resolution nowcast, hindcast and forecast data encompassing the entirety of South Africa’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) will be available for download daily and by the general public. Visit the somisana.ac.za website for more information and for links to the data via OpenDAP / WMS / Kerchunked NetCDF / Zarr, and even completely normal file downloads.
Egagasini’s cutting-edge forecasting system marks a substantial leap forward for OCIMS. By delivering accurate, high-resolution data, it forms the backbone of various decision-support tools that depend on reliable marine information. The system’s data enables real-time monitoring of oceanic conditions and offers robust predictive capabilities.
Egagasini’s commitment to developing this operational numerical ocean modelling system underscores its role in enhancing marine resource management and conservation, as well as its contribution to the future of South African marine science.
Professor Juliet Hermes, manager of SAEON’s Egagasini Node, gave an overview of the node’s pioneering efforts in the construction of an advanced ocean forecast system as part of the SOMISANA initiative (Photo: DFFE)
From left: Prof Juliet Hermes, Manager of SAEON’s Egagasini Node; Dr Warren Joubert, Acting Manager for Marine Unit, South African Weather Service; Mr Leo Chiloane, Acting Manager of SAEON’s uLwazi Node and SAEON Lead of OCIMS data curation; Mr Itumeleng Makoloi, Director: Space Systems and Acting Chief Director: Earth Observations, DSI; Dr Marjolaine Krug: DFFE Oceans and Coastal Research Branch and Senior Scientific Advisor for OCIMS; Dr Ashley Naidoo, DFFE Oceans and Coastal research branch and Chief Director Oceans and Coastal Research; Dr Lulama Wakaba, Executive Manager: Next-Gen Enterprises and Institutions, CSIR and Mr Matthew Chetty, Impact Area Manager e-Government, CSIR (Photo: DFFE)
As highlighted by the uLwazi Node’s presentation at the workshop, the Marine Information Management System (MIMS) is key to enabling collaborative efforts requiring shared access to dispersed datasets.
MIMS is an essential data infrastructure for OCIMS for systematically archiving and curating marine data and metadata, and for promoting data governance and sharing. A strategic approach to marine data management lays the foundation for informed decision-making and future marine conservation efforts.
MIMS operates on the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data principles and strives to adhere to the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model with the aim of maximising ocean data exchange and use. This means that anyone in the marine research community can access and download the open datasets found in MIMS, without first registering on the system.
The Egagasini Node’s senior operational ocean modeller, Dr Giles Fearon, and operational ocean modeller, Nkululeko Memela, recently joined the OCIMS effort under the SAEON umbrella (Photo: DFFE)
In his presentation, Leo Chiloane, acting manager of the uLwazi Node, highlighted the Marine Information Management System’s vital role in enabling collaborative efforts requiring shared access to dispersed datasets (Photo: DFFE)
The Elwandle Node reported their progress with the national implementation of the Shallow Marine and Coastal Research Infrastructure (SMCRI) funded by the Department of Science and Innovation as part of the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap.
Elwandle further detailed their work on the Observations Database, an extensive compilation of ongoing in-situ measurements across the South African coastline. This project represents a significant step in providing high-quality observational data to scientists, policymakers and the wider public. The presentation outlined how the database will aid in interpreting and predicting marine and coastal phenomena, thus enriching our understanding of South Africa’s unique marine ecosystems.
The SAEON team’s participation in the OCIMS conference clearly illustrated its essential contributions to the National Oceans and Coastal Information Management System. SAEON’s focus on improving the accessibility and utility of marine information, alongside the development of high-resolution ocean forecasts, paints a promising future for South African marine science.
Through these collective efforts, SAEON continues to propel forward the spirit of cooperation and innovation in ocean sciences, building towards a more sustainable and informed future for our precious marine resources. The SAEON team eagerly looks forward to the ongoing collaborations and breakthroughs that the future of OCIMS will bring.
The stakeholder workshop was attended by representatives from a wide range of institutions including the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), NRF-SAEON, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the South African Weather Service (SAWS), the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (Photo: DFFE)