IOC Global Ocean Observing Coordination Activities

The oceans provide several critical functions within the earth system, regulating weather and
climate, the concentration of gases in the atmosphere and providing important food resources.
Ocean scientists are increasingly being called upon to provide data and impartial scientific
information to support all levels of management, a challenge that requires more and bettercoordinated efforts towards observing and understanding oceans throughout the globe. The
majority of the open ocean, representing nearly 50 per cent of the surface of the globe, is an area
beyond national jurisdiction, and so observing it requires a multilateral cooperative approach.
Since its establishment in 1960, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of
UNESCO has been a global leader in promoting and coordinating marine research and
observations. United Nations Member States, including the United States, use the IOC for
coordination of global and coastal ocean observing platforms.

This proposal outlines United States contributions to IOC's global ocean observing coordination
activities for 2011-2014 via NOAA’s Climate Program Office. These activities focus on
developing international consensus on the requirements for ocean observations and technical
support to ocean observing networks participating in the IOC-led Global Ocean Observing
System (GOOS). In investing in multilateral cooperation, the United States ensures that its
substantial investment in global ocean observations is matched by other national investment in a
system that is compatible and shares standardized data in real time.

Specifically supported is technical coordination within JCOMMOPS, the Observing Programme
Support Centre of the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine
Meteorology (JCOMM). JCOMMOPS serves:
  •  the Data Buoy Cooperation Panel that maintains a network of surface drifting floatsmeasuring temperature, pressure, and surface current,
  •  the Ship Observations Team that maintains volunteer commercial ship observations of meteorological parameters, as well as underway measurements of surface and subsurfaceocean variables, and
  •  the Argo Information Center, a technical support and coordination activity for the global network of more than 3000 Argo profiling floats.Direct support is also requested for the Global Ocean Observing System, and specifically includes support for:
  • the Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC), which provides scientific oversight for open ocean GOOS, identifying the requirements for observations for climate and other societal benefit areas, and ensuring the outputs of the system are fit for purpose,
  •  support through Brazil for maintenance of the PIRATA tropical moored buoy network in the Atlantic Ocean, which forms the backbone of operational forecasting and research in the region, and
  •  support to enhance the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) Core Network, which provides sea level measurements for climate and for coastal hazard warning purposes (tsunamis and storm surges).