Unique physical settings of the South China Sea (SCS) and its adjacent regions allow many sites to become upwelling favourable during different monsoon seasons. Despite numbers of well-established sites of upwelling region in SCS and its adjacent regions, i.e. Hainan Island and Vietnam coast, recent study discovered a few upwelling areas within SCS which never been studied before. Amongst them are the regions along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and area at the south of Java. There are many other sites which are believed to have similar upwelling dynamics, but they either have not been discovered or not well explored.

Upwelling systems holds a very important value that require special focus. However, the effects of climate change, monsoon variability, and ENSO on the upwelling system still remain poorly understood while the effect of upwelling on harmful algal blooms has recently attracted many interests from researchers.

In view of the limited scientific knowledge on upwelling systems in the region and its importance to ocean productivity, the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) established a regional project, entitled “Upwelling Studies through Ocean Data Integration towards Sustaining Ocean Health and Productivity,” aiming to: explore new upwelling sites and increase the understanding on upwelling dynamics in the South China Sea (SCS) and adjacent seas, through comparative studies and data integration. Dr Mohd Fadzil Mohd Akhir from Malaysia was appointed as Principal Investigator for this project.

Initial effort was made through various discussions among a group of researchers. This workshop is developed, as a starting point, to attract interested researchers who are involved in upwelling studies in their countries, and enhance collaborations by gathering important information related to upwelling from all countries bordering the South China Sea and its adjacent regions.

Workshop venue and objectives

The workshop will take place in the city of Putrajaya, Malaysia, aiming to achieve the following objectives through various expert presentations and constructive discussions:

  • establish a multidisciplinary research network on upwelling systems;
  • review current understanding and identify knowledge gaps of upwelling systems and its dynamics in SCS and its adjacent regions;
  • synergize efforts in upwelling studies, and develop an action plan of joint research and trainings among countries and other research activities on upwelling systems in the region.

Conduct of the workshop

The first day will consist of presentation by experts in this field. This will provide an overview of the upwelling dynamics in SCS and its adjacent regions. Related topics include:

  1. Newly studied upwelling region in east cost of Peninsular Malaysia, Northeast Borneo and south Java
  2. Upwelling in Vietnam, Philippines and China coasts
  3. Overview of upwelling studies from global perspectives
  4. Deep Chlorophyll Maximum (DCM) in upwelling region
  5. Biological aspect of upwelling, including plankton and meso-zooplankton ecology

On second day, an open forum will be held to explore ideas and suggestions in order to come up with a future action plan.

Experts wanted and financial assistance

WESTPAC strongly encourages a trans- or multi-disciplinary approach to upwelling studies. Scientists especially with an interest in upwelling studies are welcome, if they conduct research either on the dynamics of the upwelling phenomena, or on other related aspects such as biology, chemistry, remote sensing, numerical modelling, atmospheric and climate science and even the marine resources management.

Given the limited resources, interested experts are strongly encouraged to cover their full or partial travel expense. Some funding is being sought by the organizers to support the travel of experts in need of assistance. A joint committee will be established for the selection of most suitable participants that would be provided with financial support.

I would appreciate your assistance in providing detail of suitable experts from your country by sending application forms duly completed to Ms Nachapa Saransuth at the WESTPAC Office (n.saransuth@unesco.org), and Dr Mohd Fadzil Mohd Akhir (fadzilakhir@yahoo.com), before 12 March 2018.