The Ocean Sciences Section of AGU is one of the Union's original sections. It was founded in 1920 as the Physical Oceanography Section and renamed in 1923. It currently has four subsections to welcome and connect members from around the globe whose primary interests encompass biological oceanography, marine geochemistry & chemical oceanography, marine geology & geophysics, and physical oceanography. Ocean Sciences is inherently interdisciplinary, and section members collaborate broadly across disciplines to foster innovation, discovery and the integration of scientific knowledge, while demonstrating the value and excitement of science to students and to the public.
The ocean covers three fourths of the Earth’s surface, and it sustains our living planet by regulating the global balances of energy and matter that control climate. It is a major source of photosynthetically produced oxygen that outgases to the atmosphere, and it is instrumental for food production, commerce, security and recreation. Members of the Ocean Sciences Section are academic, government, industry, and NGO scientists, engineers, managers, educators, communicators, policy-makers, and administrators who are dedicated to understanding processes in marine environments and interface zones ranging from the coast to the open ocean and from the sea surface to beneath the seafloor. In these pursuits, section members develop and use a wide range of highly technical equipment, including satellites, sensor arrays on the seafloor and throughout the water column, autonomous and tethered vehicles, ship-supported sampling gear, and cutting-edge analytical instruments. They collect, analyze, and model vast quantities of data to characterize, manage, and protect the present ocean, reconstruct past oceans, and predict future oceans. These efforts establish baselines that allow assessments of change and targets for sustainability. This work is also central for developing regulatory and technological solutions to global and regional environmental challenges connected to the ocean. Emerging areas of research include complex models that simulate the ocean’s role in climate, sea level change, oceanic cycles of greenhouse gases and other globally important chemicals, marine ecosystem dynamics, biodiversity, coastal and estuarine processes, ocean exploration and mapping, air-sea interactions, and high-latitude oceanography. Because the ocean is such a vital part of the Earth system - and because oceans exist on other worlds - the Section fosters dialogue across the Earth and planetary sciences, and it hosts sessions, lectures and events at AGU’s annual Fall Meeting and at the biennial Ocean Sciences Meeting which is jointly organized with other societies studying marine science.