Interim Report of the Working Group on Seasonal to Decadal Prediction of Marine Ecosystems (WGS2D)

Mark Payne, Martin Lindegren, Sévrine Sailley, Anna Katharina Miesner, Nikolaos Nikolioudakis, Susana Garrido, Jennifer Devine, Ryan McGeady, Anne Britt Sandø, Robin Boyd, Ole Henriksen

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The ICES Working Group on Seasonal to Decadal Prediction of Marine Ecosystems (WGS2D), chaired by Mark R. Payne, Denmark, met for the second time in Copenhagen, Denmark, 27–31 August 2018. The group aims to develop and operationalise forecasts of marine ecological properties (e.g. distribution, recruitment, phenology) that are of direct relevance to ICES advice and monitoring activities.

WGS2D’s first forecast product, for the spawning habitat of Blue whiting, has now been through one full cycle of making a forecast and then verifying the result. Good agreement was found between the forecast habitat and the observed distribution (see Figure), particularly in the core region, confirming a successful forecast. Refinements to the forecasting system have been made based on the lessons learn from this first iteration.

The Blue whiting spawning habitat forecast was updated for the 2019 spawning season. The forecast suggest a continuation the highly compacted distribution seen in recent years.

A new forecast product, for the feeding habitat of Bluefin tuna was produced and is now being delivered operationally. The forecast for the 2019 feeding season suggests the total area of thermally suitable habitat will be lower than the peaks seen in 2010 and 2012, although the amount of habitat is expected to remain above that seen prior to the mid-1990s.

Several new case studies have also been initiated and are currently under development. These include the spatial distribution of Saithe, and recruitment prediction for Sandeel, Barents Sea Cod, and Iberian Sardine. Requests for climate projection data for use in integrated assessments were answered. A request to examine the predictability of mackerel spawning distribution was also examined, but there does not appear to be sufficient scientific support for developing a forecast product.

During 2018, WGS2D also co-sponsored a theme session titled “From prediction to projection: the role of seasonal to decadal forecasts in a changing climate” at the Fourth International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans (ECCWO) in Washington DC, USA, 4–8 June 2018. The session was co-sponsored in collaboration with WGS2D’s sister working group within PICES, WG-CEP. The session was well subscribed and well attended, and has helped to raise the profile of ecological forecasting within the ICES and PICES communities.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCopenhagen, Denmark
PublisherInternational Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
Number of pages42
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventWorking Group on Seasonal to Decadal Prediction of Marine Ecosystems - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 27 Aug 201831 Aug 2019


OtherWorking Group on Seasonal to Decadal Prediction of Marine Ecosystems


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