Global Ocean Observing Coordination Activities

Donald Anderson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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 and atmosphere scientists are increasingly being called to provide data and impartial scientific information to support all levels of management, a challenge that requires more and better coordinated efforts towards observing and understanding oceans and their interaction with the global climate system. The majority of the open ocean, representing nearly 50 per cent of the surface of the globe, is an area beyond national jurisdiction, therefore observing it requires a multilateral cooperative approach.
Since its establishment in 1953, and by its fore-runner organization the International
Meteorological Organization, established in 1873, the World Meteorological Organization has been a global leader in promoting and coordinating the collection, management, and free and open exchange of meteorological and oceanographic data, an active supporter of relevant research, and a provider of related operational services. The Members of the WMO, including the United States, use it as a key partner for coordination of global and coastal ocean observing platforms.

This proposal outlines United States contributions to the WMO’s global ocean observing
coordination activities for 2014-2019 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 WMO-led Global Climate
Observing System (GCOS) coordination activities which encompass, inter alia, the IOC-WMOUNEP- ICSU 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 JCOMM in situ
Observations Programme Support Centre of the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for
Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM). JCOMMOPS serves:
the Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP) that coordinates the implementation and
sustained operations of a network of surface drifting floats (measuring temperature,
pressure, and surface current), and of moorings (high seas and tropical) and other arctic
buoys and tsunameters. The Ship Observations Team (SOT) that coordinates the implementation and sustained operations of volunteer commercial ships making (i) marine meteorological observations (the Voluntary Observing Ship scheme, VOS), as well as (ii) underway measurements of surface and subsurface ocean variables (the Ship of Opportunity Programme, SOOP), the Argo Steering Team (AST) that coordinates the implementation, sustained operations, and data management of the Argo profiling float network. The AST is assisted in its work by the Argo Information Center (AIC), a technical support and coordination facility based at JCOMMOPS for the global network of Argo profiling floats.

The Ocean Sustained Interdisciplinary Timeseries Environment Observation System
(OceanSITES) that coordinates the implementation, sustained operations, and data
management of deep ocean time-series reference stations using moorings, cables, etc.
The Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) that
coordinates the implementation, sustained operations, and data management of
sustained hydrographic sections observations, and other components of the GOOS, that can be supported through the integrated infrastructure, and according to resources provided (the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS), gliders, polar systems, etc.)
Direct support is also requested for the GOOS component of GCOS, and specifically includessupport 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 to enhance the coordination with JCOMM Services and Forecasting Systems, to enhance the use of observing information and associated institutional capabilities.