Cross-strait oceans meeting starts

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, May 15, 2019 - Page 3

A four-day Cross-Strait Ocean Sciences Meeting began yesterday in Taipei, with Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Oceanology director Wang Fan (王凡) expressing interest in increasing cross-strait collaboration on marine studies.

Taiwanese and Chinese institutions have since 1991 traded hosting the meeting about every two years, Oceanographic Society chairman and National Taiwan University oceanography professor Jan Sen (詹森) said.

Nearly 120 Chinese oceanographers joined the meeting, including members of the institute and Xiamen University, more than in previous years, Wang said, adding that this is his first time visiting Taiwan.

Marine sciences and technology have acquired unprecedented importance, as they could provide solutions to predicaments identified in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, he said.

While China claims land totaling nearly 9.6 million square meters, most areas in the northwest are deserts, while Taiwan’s area is also limited, Wang said.

As existing land resources cannot improve lives, exploring marine resources and protecting the oceanic environment through technology are vital, he said.

Cross-strait collaborations in oceanography largely occur between individuals, he said, suggesting an increase in systematic collaborations among institutions.

Asked if Taiwan and China might collaborate on projects in the South China Sea, Wang said that coral bleaching, information sharing and joint cruises are possible areas in which the two could work together.

After the meeting, he and some other academics are to visit Academia Sinica’s Research Center for Environmental Changes, Wang added.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Geosciences Assembly also began yesterday at the same exhibition hall, featuring 14 forums related to disaster prevention, meteorology, space technology, marine science and geography.

Taiwan’s earth sciences are expected to make great leaps after the launch of the Formosat-7 satellite constellation, which is expected to improve weather forecasting, ocean science and ionosphere analysis, National Central University Institute of Space Science chair professor Liu Jann-yenq (劉正彥) said.

A collaborative program between Taiwan and the US, the six-satellite constellation is scheduled to be launched on June 22 by SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, he said.

Taiwan might be the top nation in the world when it comes to studying the ionosphere, as it is in a region with the highest ionospheric intensity, which could disrupt global positioning systems, but is helpful for some strategic purposes, Liu said.