Oceanography Professor Elected Chair of UNESCO’s Ocean Science Commission
By MC2 Taylor Vencill
Dr. Peter Chu, Chair of the Naval Postgraduate School Department of Oceanography, has been selected to serve as chairman of the Global Temperature-Salinity Profile Program (GTSPP). The GTSPP is a commission of the Intergovernmental Ocean Commission, part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the only UN body specializing in ocean science and services.
“I’ve been part of it for over 15 years,” said Chu. “The committee has around 20 members and we are all oceanographers. The prior chair, Dr. Charles Sun, retired, and they selected me to be the new chair.”
GTSPP provides timely, complete sub-surface climate variables of temperature and salinity profile data with documented quality flags, and implements internationally-agreed quality control and overall management of ocean data in accordance with the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS).
"The GTSPP provides world-wide, real-time temperature and salinity profile data three times a week. This is invaluable for numerical ocean prediction and model verification,” said Chu.
As part of UNESCO, GTSPP works unilaterally with different nations’ government research entities to standardize global oceanographic data.
“The U.S. is a large country; however, we cannot sample water from all of the oceans. We have to get data from other countries, so you need to share this data. Quite a lot of countries participate and share,” Chu noted.
While part of Chu’s responsibility as chair is to ensure GTSPP is fulfilling its obligations to the worldwide ocean science community, he also has the opportunity to shape GTSPP programs for the future, and he already has a few ideas on new products. He also hopes his selection as chair can be leveraged to provide NPS researchers with greater access to relevant data.
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