China-Korea Workshop on Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass in Yellow Sea

A China-Korea workshop on Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass (YSCWM) in the Yellow Sea was held at the Sheng Tang International Hotel, Penglai, PR China, June 10-11, 2019. The meeting was attended by 19 participants including members of the Regional Working Group on Assessment and Monitoring (RWG-A) from PR China and RO Korea, First Institute of Oceanography (FIO) of PR China, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), and National Institute of Fisheries Science (NIFS) of RO Korea, the National Coordinator of RO Korea, the Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM) and the YSLME Phase II Project Management Office (PMO).  The meeting was chaired by Dr. Shouqiang WANG from FIO of the Ministry of Natural Resources of PR China and co-chaired by Dr. Sangjin LEE from the PMO of the UNOPS.

Organized by FIO of PR China, the workshop had two goals: 1) to have better understanding on the relationships between the changes of YSCWM and structure of plankton communities; and 2) to discuss the monitoring and assessment proposal on the changes of YSCWM and structure of plankton communities.  A total of 9 presentations by experts from both countries were delivered, followed by Q&A sessions and brainstorming.

During the discussion session, the participants from both countries offered suggestions and shared views on how to achieve the targets for YSCWM activity within the available time frame and future activities of experts from both countries after project termination in the late 2019.  Key issues discussed go to the responses of ecosystems in YS to natural forces and forecast of ecosystem changes in the YS as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. The study presented at the meeting found significant impact of Changjiang Diluted Water on the physical, biological and chemical aspects of the YSCWM.  Several factors affecting ecosystems in the YS were also introduced with concrete scientific findings, for instance, increased availability of nutrients which enhance productivity rates and also influencing dissolved oxygen level decreased. Reminding previous joint studies conducted by FIO of PR China and KIOST of RO Korea, Dr. Joon Young YANG, a Korean expert reiterated the significance of joint studies to understand the whole YSCWM and suggested to share relevant information, reports and graphics containing its properties on a regular basis.

Reflecting on the comments and suggestions made at the meeting, there was general consensus that  immediate actions with more effort would be placed on YSCWM through future cooperative studies possibly including 1) long-term intensive monitoring; 2) predicting environmental changes; 3) assessment of environmental responses against climate change; 4) effect of natural forces including typhoon into plankton communities in the YSCWM; 5) impact of climate change on YSCWM, considering long-term trend of surface warming, increasing extreme events.  In particular, participants reiterated the need for and value of creating a mechanism which will enable both countries to share data that will contribute to understanding of the YSCWM.  

Before project closure in late 2019, the meeting participants underscored the importance of successful implementation of the project and agreed to develop a regional report on YSCWM by compiling two national reports to be submitted by both countries at the end of November 2019.