55th International Liège Colloquium on Ocean Dynamics

Running from 27 mai to 31 mai 2024


Organisation: Université de Liège

Marine extreme events, encompassing phenomena such as storm surges, marine heatwaves, harmful algal blooms, jellyfish blooms, extreme storms, and even unique occurrences like Medicanes (Mediterranean hurricanes), are becoming more common in our changing world. These events have profound consequences for marine ecosystems, coastal communities, and global economies.

Extreme sea level events, driven by intense storms and rising sea levels, can inundate coastlines, leading to devastating flooding and erosion. Marine heatwaves, fueled by climate change, can trigger mass coral bleaching events, disrupting delicate marine ecosystems and jeopardizing the biodiversity they support. Harmful algal blooms and jellyfish blooms, exacerbated by nutrient pollution and warmer waters, can lead to oxygen depletion, cause mass mortality events in various species, and pose risks to human health. 

The consequences of these marine extreme events are far-reaching. Damage to coastal infrastructure from storm surges can result in  displacement of communities, economic losses, and increased vulnerability to subsequent events. Mass coral bleaching, a consequence of marine heatwaves, can induce irreversible reef degradation, affecting fisheries, tourism, and shoreline protection. Harmful algal blooms and jellyfish blooms pose threats to coastal economies reliant on fisheries and aquaculture. The concurrent incidence of different types of extreme events add up to compound extremes. Concurrence of oceanic and atmospheric extremes, marine and atmospheric heat waves, wind and wave extremes, harmful algal blooms, hypoxic conditions and acidification lead to a nonlinear increase of environmental stressors. Additionally, coupled processes, such as ocean-atmosphere interactions can also contribute to the occurrence of extreme events.

Hence, marine extreme events present significant challenges to marine ecosystems, coastal communities and economies worldwide. Addressing the impacts of these events requires a comprehensive approach, involving measures to mitigate climate change, improve coastal resilience, and promote sustainable marine management practices. A crucial aspect of addressing and mitigating the impacts of marine extreme events lies in deepening our scientific understanding of these phenomena and in establishing solid methodologies for defining climatological baselines and for extreme analyses in a changing climate. Scientific research plays a pivotal role in unraveling the intricate mechanisms behind these events, predicting their occurrence, and formulating effective strategies to manage and adapt to their consequences. By exploring the underlying causes, interactions, and feedback loops, scientists can provide invaluable insights that guide policymakers, communities, and industries in making informed decisions.

The 55th edition of the International Liège Colloquium will focus on Ocean Extremes, and welcomes submissions in the above-mentioned topics but also other extreme phenomena such as extreme waves and (meteo)tsunamis. We encourage contributions encompassing observational and modeling studies, research on the evolution of extreme events over the last decades and their projected evolution in the future, and also works about the attribution of these events and studies to their possible causes.

Given the above terms, the Colloquium will be organized in the following sessions:

  • Drivers and mechanisms (air-sea interactions, ocean processes, local and remote drivers... )
  • Long-term changes (paleoclimate, historical reanalyses, future projections, detection and attribution, interactions with climate modes, extremes at high latitudes, long term observations)
  • Compound events (preconditioned, multivariate events, temporally compounding and spatially compounding, cascading events)
  • Predictions (novel forecasting approaches, numerical modeling and machine learning, operational systems, applications and technologies, adequacy of observations and monitoring)
  • Impacts and Adaptation (short-term and long-term, coastal, individual and cumulative impacts on ecosystems, socio-economic impacts, adaptation, governance)