The Australian Forum for Operational Oceanography (FOO)

The FOO is meant to be a forum for:

  • discussions relating to operational oceanography, including requirements of stakeholders, industry and interested parties;
  • for scientific and technical discussions of common interest to practitioners working in relevant areas or drawing on products from operational oceanography service providers.

The ultimate goal of FOO is to improve the safety and efficiency of marine industries through better decision-making via operational oceanography. This requires better industry processes and trained staff. It requires better operational oceanographic services from government, and industry. It requires a solid foundation of world class research and development.

This is the value chain for operational oceanography in Australia.

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Context of the Forum

In developed countries around the world, Government agencies, R&D providers and marine industries are realising the potential advantages of creating a systematic focus on operational ocean observing, short-range prediction, and delivery of services - covering marine and coastal environments, and physical and biogeochemical properties.

This has come to be described as operational oceanography.

As an island nation deriving massive social, economic and environmental benefits from its coasts and oceans, Australia has good reason to be keenly interested in these developments.

A team of scientists and managers from across industry, government and academia have therefore come together and formed a steering committee to bring an Australian Forum for Operational Oceanography (FOO) into existence.

The Forum Pillars


Forum Objectives

The Forum represents a mechanism and opportunity for consolidating Australia’s national coordination of efforts for the benefit of all participating parties.

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The Forum will provide a mechanism for clear and coherent articulation of user needs and priorities from any sectors and jurisdictions who have an interest in operational oceanography.

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The Forum will keep the operational oceanography community informed of developments and best practices in the field. The aim is to strengthen links with the diverse community of intermediate service provides (metocean consultants, environmental consultants) and to agree and achieve international best practice across the sectors.
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The Forum will facilitate awareness and utilisation of existing operational oceanography systems, focusing in particular on those developed in Australia. This has the ultimate goal of achieving greater positive impact and implements a robust feedback loop to guide further improvements to systems and services.
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The Forum will initiate the interactions and partnerships between groups in Australia that are essential to improve both exploitation of capabilities in operational oceanography, and transitioning of systems research to operations. This includes the sharing and alignment of future plans and planned developments in operational oceanography among participants in the forum.

Working Groups

Three working groups have been established by the Forum, in order to conduct intersessional discussions and drive innovation and collaboration in these priority areas.

Visit the following Working Group pages for more information.




The Forums

The inaugural meeting of The Australian Forum for Operational Oceanography (FOO) was held in Fremantle, Western Australia on 21-23 July 2015. The meeting was attended by participants from across 50 organisations, with good representation from all ‘four pillars’ of the Forum’s stakeholder base, namely marine industries, service providers, government agencies and research providers.

The second meeting of an Australian Forum for Operational Oceanography (FOO) was held in Fremantle from 25-27 July 2017. Its purpose was to review progress of FOO since the first event in 2015, to assess present capabilities, engagement and needs, to explore uses and users of operational oceanography, and to focus on the ‘hot topic’ of marine extremes.

The third meeting of an Australian Forum for Operational Oceanography (FOO) was held in Melbourne from 15-16 October 2019. Its purpose was to review progress of FOO since the second event in 2017.

The fourth meeting of an Australian Forum for Operational Oceanography (FOO) was held virtually from 22 November to 1 December. Its purpose was to keep the FOO Community up to date and engaged during the pandemic.

FOO 2015

Click here to read the FOO 2015 report and download presentations

FOO 2017

Click here to read the FOO 2017 report and download presentations

FOO 2019

Click here to read the FOO 2019 report and download presentations

FOO 2021

Click here to read the FOO 2021 report and download presentations

FOO Steering Committee


vacant (expressions of interest open)


Research & Development

Michelle Heupel, Integrated Marine Observing System (Co-Chair)

Indi Hodgson-Johnston, Integrated Marine Observing System



vacant (expressions of interest open)


Barbra Parker, Royal Australian Navy


  • The Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee can be found here.
  • The Committee’s major item of business will be to facilitate the formation of a working group or groups to progress the priority areas discussed at the Forum.
  • Other items of business will include communication, membership, resourcing, and future events.

The FOO Website is supported by the Integrated Marine Observing System

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