Understanding climate
for the benefit of society

The Ocean Outlook is intendes to promote and sustain sustain scientific and educational cooperation between the marine research institutions in Bergen, Norway and Woods Hole, USA. 

Ocean Outlook Online 

Due to the world social distancing situation, the annual Ocean Outlook goes online with virtual presentations on topics and scoping the next full meeting: The near future of our oceans.


For the sixth year in a row, the Ocean Outlook conference gathers marine scientists on both sides of the Atlantic, alternating between Bergen, Norway and Woods Hole, USA.

The world situation has forced the conference to go online, from a three day full conference to a 2.5 hour set up online. The program targets the near future of our oceans, and is a scoping of the postponed full meeting which will be held in Woods Hole in May 2021.

Under the headline «The Near Future of our Oceans» the programme is set in four sessions:

WebEx Ocean Outlook 2020 Meeting - find full programme here with inlog details  
Wednesday, May 27th

8:30 – 11:00am, Woods Hole time
2:30 – 5:00pm, Bergen, Norway time

Polar Amplification

  • Young-Oh Kwon (WHOI) How Polar Amplification Links the Arctic and North Atlantic
  • Willem G.M. van der Bilt (University of Bergen) Early Holocene temperature oscillations exceed amplitude of measured and modeled warming on Svalbard

Arctic Methane

  • Anna Michel (WHOI) Advances in instrumentation for Arctic Methane
  • Amy Pickard (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), Andy Rees (Plymouth Marine Laboratory) and Richard Sanders (Norwegian Research Centre): Methane emissions from UK estuaries and coastal waters in the context of other parts of the GB carbon budget

The Mesopelagic Zone

  • Bjørn Erik Axelsen (IMR) Mesopelagic status and trial fisheries in Norway
  • Peter Wiebe (WHOI) Overview of the Ocean Twilight Zone Project at WHOI

Advances in Instrumentation

  • Sam Laney (WHOI) An integrated observing system for the Arctic
  • Geir Pedersen (IMR) Implementing Autonomous Technologies for Operational Marine Monitoring


A broad ocean mindset

A strength of the conference is the wide specter of scientists, covering many different disciplines and also the mix of junior and senior researchers, as well as people from outside of academia.

– We invite to a broad ocean mindset, which we think is necessary if we are to answer the many and growing challenges we have before us, says Øyvind Paasche who is with the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research.

Paasche initiated the conference, and he is content to see the growing interest in the conference since it first took place in 2015.

He highlights the conference ability to address questions and themes that are at the forefront of research. One example of this is that the conference early on highlighted the role of  marine micro plastics and the need to develop a rigorous scientific framework. This resulted in a close collaboration between research partners in Bergen and  colleagues at WHOI.


A glimpse into the future

Willem van der Bilt is a researcher at the UiB and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. In the session Polar Amplification on Wednesday, he will present his biomarker temperature reconstructions from three Svalbard lakes.

These reconstructions targets the warmest period since the end of the last Ice Age, the Early Holocene (11.700-8.200  BP). His reconstructed temperatures reveal that much warmer than previously reported and far exceeded modern values for a brief period around 10 000 BP.

Van der Bilt and colleagues compared instrumental calibration and Bayesian models with model simulations for 21st century. What they found was that the Early Holocene peak warmth exceeded Paris agreement limits and equaled mid-range scenarios for AD 2100.

“These findings underscore the value of the Early Holocene as a glimpse into the near-future trajectory of Arctic amplification” van der Bilt highlights.