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Over autumn 2017, I was fortunate enough to travel 22,000 km to the north to join the GODAE OceanView International School 2017 with full financial support by the organizer. It was an immersive, collaborative and transformative two weeks in Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, Spain. The school took place at beautiful Pollentia Bay in Mallorca, the Club Pollentia Resort with all-inclusive package. Over the school program, I met many like-minded peers and research experts from all over the world (68 students from 31 countries and I was the only one from Malaysia), thriving in a dynamic and supportive learning environment. There were 40 oceanographers and researchers from world-leading agencies, research institutes and universities giving lectures on the topic of new frontiers in operational oceanography. The lectures were including model and tools, prediction systems, observations and applications which related to operational oceanography.
At the GOV School, I’ve learned the operational oceanography is an integrated approach which includes satellite data, in-situ observations and numerical models to describe and forecast the ocean in support of society needs. This requires systematic and long-term routine measurements of oceans for data assimilation and to improve the product outputs. The products are shared among industrial users, government agencies and principal authorities. The examples of products include ocean currents, ocean climate variability, climatology and seasonal weather forecasting, warnings for coastal floods, ice and storm damage, harmful algal blooms and contaminants, ship routing, prediction of seasonal or annual primary productivity, sustainable use of fishing resources and search and rescue (SAR) operations.
Throughout the 2 weeks, students were required to follow the entire school program. The school program included series of lectures, two debate sessions, poster session and a field trip. I did enjoy the lectures as the topics were interesting and some of the topics; sea ice, Arctic Ocean and ice modelling were new topics for me. The debate sessions have produced a large amount of fruitful ideas for the next direction of operational oceanography. The debates involved students who ask questions to the expert panels from universities and research agencies then both sides discussed the issues very well. On Friday of the first week of school, we had a field trip on RV SOCIB which is a catamaran which developed as an observational research vessel. On board, the officers demonstrated the scientific equipment on board including ocean glider, Argo float, Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), Thermosalinometer, Echosounder and other oceanographic instruments that they have on board. Afterwards, we were given a leisure time to explore Palma de Mallorca town and local markets. Same rules at the high school, the lectures also gave us homework for each week which to review the book chapters written by lectures that later will publish as part of the school achievements. But I think everyone liked the homework as we were always talking and updating each other about it when we met.
This school has helped open many opportunities for collaboration, future research works and networking around the world for the young oceanographers. I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to be part of GOV School Mallorca 2017 and I’d highly recommend this program to graduate students looking to have the most amazing and enriching experience of their lives.
My time at the GOV School Mallorca was short but sweet and I had a spectacular time and it was definitely a productive and memorable experience!