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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00434

Ship-Based Contributions to Global Ocean, Weather, and Climate Observing Systems

 Shawn R. Smith1*,  Gael Alory2,  Axel Andersson3, Wiliam Asher4,  Alex Baker5,  David I. Berry6,  Kyla Drushka4, Darin Figurskey7,  Eric Freeman8, Paul Holthus9, Tim Jickells5, Henry Kleta3, 10,  Elizabeth C. Kent6,  Nicolas Kolodziejczyk11,  Martin Kramp12, Zoe Loh13,  Paul Poli14,  Ute Schuster15,  Emma Steventon16,  Sebastiaan Swart17, 18, Oksana Tarasova19, Loic Petit De La Villéon20 and  Nadya Vinogradova Shiffer21
  • 1Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies, Florida State University, United States
  • 2CNES/CNRS/IRD/UPS, UMR5566 Laboratoire d'études en géophysique et océanographie spatiales (LEGOS), France
  • 3Maritimes Datenzentrum, German Weather Service, Germany
  • 4Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, United States
  • 5School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
  • 6National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 7Ocean Prediction Center, National Weather Service, United States
  • 8ERT, Inc./CCOG, National Centers for Environmental Information, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States
  • 9World Ocean Council, United States
  • 10Maritimes Messnetz, German Weather Service, Germany
  • 11UMR6523 Laboratoire d'Oceanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), France
  • 12JCOMMOPS, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), France
  • 13CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere, Australia
  • 14Centre de Météorologie Marine, Météo-France, France
  • 15College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Hatherly Laboratories, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 16Met Office, United Kingdom
  • 17Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 18Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • 19Global Atmosphere Watch Programme, World Meteorological Organization, Switzerland
  • 20Sismer, Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), France
  • 21Science Misson Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States

The role ships play in atmospheric, oceanic, and biogeochemical observations is described with a focus on measurements made within 100 m of the ocean surface. Ships include merchant and research vessels, cruise liners and ferries, fishing vessels, coast guard, military, and other government-operated ships, yachts, and a growing fleet of automated surface vessels. The present capabilities of ships to measure essential climate/ocean variables and the requirements from a broad community to address operational, commercial, and scientific needs are described. Following the guidance from the OceanObs’19 organizing committee, the authors provide a vision to expand observations needed from ships to understand and forecast the exchanges across the ocean-atmosphere interface. The vision addresses (1) recruiting vessels to improve both spatial and temporal sampling, (2) conducting multi-variate sampling on ships, (3) raising technology readiness levels of automated shipboard sensors and ship-to-shore data communications, (4) advancing quality evaluation of observations, and (5) developing a unified data management approach for observations and metadata that meets the needs of a diverse user community. Recommendations are made focusing on integrating private and autonomous vessels into the observing system, investing in sensor and communications technology development, developing an integrated data management structure that includes all types of ships, and moving towards a quality evaluation process that will result in a subset of ships being defined as mobile reference ships that will support climate studies.

We envision a future where commercial, research, and privately-owned vessels are making multivariate observations using a combination of automated and human-observed measurements. All data and metadata will be documented, tracked, evaluated, distributed, and archived to benefit users of marine data. This vision looks at ships as a holistic network, not a set of disparate commercial, research, and/or third-party activities working in isolation, to bring these communities together for the mutual benefit of all.

Keywords: Ships, Observations, Meteorology, physical oceanography, biogeochemistry, data management, climatology

Received: 09 Nov 2018; Accepted: 05 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Minhan Dai, Xiamen University, China

Reviewed by:

Sophie E. CRAVATTE, Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), France
Andrea Storto, NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, Italy
Wilhelm Petersen, Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany  

Copyright: © 2019 Smith, Alory, Andersson, Asher, Baker, Berry, Drushka, Figurskey, Freeman, Holthus, Jickells, Kleta, Kent, Kolodziejczyk, Kramp, Loh, Poli, Schuster, Steventon, Swart, Tarasova, Petit De La Villéon and Vinogradova Shiffer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Shawn R. Smith, Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies, Florida State University, Tallahassee, United States, smith@coaps.fsu.edu