A Life Well Lived: Arthur (Art) Alexiou


It is with deep regret that IOC has to report the passing away of Arthur (Art) Alexiou on 16 June 2020.

Art was one of IOC’s most dedicated and talented contributors, who served the organisation from 1985 to 2002, after being seconded there by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Born on 26 February 1930 in New Hampshire, USA, Art grew up with his two brothers and three sisters, helping his father run a small grocery store. These early years with such a large family earned him a remarkable work ethic and exquisite social skills.

Art studied electrical engineering at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), where he was also known for his athletic skills. In 1951, he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study meteorology and oceanography.

Having participated in the UNH Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program, he joined the Air Force as forecaster, serving in Japan for two years and then retiring in 1965 as Captain.

Upon return to the USA, Art chose to further his studies in oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

During his brilliant career, he served the US Naval Oceanographic Office, NASA, the NSF and then NOAA, where he became Director of the Sea Grant Program in 1978.

In 1985, he joined the IOC Secretariat in Paris, France to serve as Coordinator of the World Climate Research Programme, where he stayed until his retirement in 2002.

During his years at the IOC, Art played a key role in developing the Ocean Observing System, by supporting first the Ocean Observing System Development Panel and then the Ocean Observations Panel for Climate.

After his retirement from IOC, Art remained in France. Through his 70s, he was skiing the Alps and the Pyrenees. In his 80s, he hiked the Pyrenees and sang in a choral group, and for his 80th birthday, he hiked coast to coast across England for two weeks. Even on his 90th birthday, he outdid his guests singing Amazing Grace with a big smile on his face. Like most people, Art had a few quirks: his favourite “baguettes tradition” had to be bought hot at a special store; Caesar salad must include anchovies or be returned; each item placed in a suitcase must be ironed and folded before closing, and these were just a few.

On behalf of the IOC, we extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends, especially to his loving wife, Jacqueline.