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

Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00449

Evolving the global ocean observing system for research and application services through international coordination

  • 1CSIRO Oceans and Atmopshere, Australia
  • 2Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, United States
  • 3World Meteorological Organization, Switzerland
  • 4National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Argentina
  • 5Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (NOAA), United States
  • 6Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Norway
  • 7GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany
  • 8Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa
  • 9NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), United States
  • 10Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • 11Met Office Hadley Centre (MOHC), United Kingdom
  • 12Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Germany
  • 13École Normale Supérieure, France
  • 14Mercator Ocean (France), France
  • 15Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, United States
  • 16State Oceanic Administration, China

Climate change and variability are major societal challenges, and the ocean is an integral part of this complex and variable system. Key to the understanding of the ocean's role in the Earth's climate system is the study of ocean and sea-ice physical processes, including its interactions with the atmosphere, cryosphere, land and biosphere. These processes include those linked to ocean circulation; the storage and redistribution of heat, carbon, salt and other water properties; and air-sea exchanges of heat, momentum, freshwater, carbon and other gasses. Measurements of ocean physics variables are fundamental to reliable earth prediction systems for a range of applications and users. In addition, knowledge of the physical environment is fundamental to growing understanding of the ocean’s biogeochemistry and biological/ecosystem variability and function.
Through the progress from OceanObs’99 to OceanObs’09, the ocean observing system has evolved from a platform centric perspective to an integrated observing system. The challenge now is for the observing system to evolve to respond to an increasingly diverse end user group. The Ocean Observations Physics and Climate panel (OOPC), formed in 1995, has undertaken many activities that led to observing system-related agreements. Here, OOPC will explore the opportunities and challenges for the development of a fit-for-purpose, sustained and prioritized ocean observing system, focusing on physical variables that maximize support for fundamental research, climate monitoring, forecasting on different timescales, and society.
OOPC recommendations are guided by the Framework for Ocean Observing (Lindstrom et al. 2012) which emphasizes identifying user requirements by considering time and space scales of the Essential Ocean Variables. This approach provides a framework for reviewing the adequacy of the observing system, looking for synergies in delivering an integrated observing system for a range of applications and focusing innovation in areas where existing technologies do not meet these requirements.

Keywords: Sustained observations, Observing networks, observation platforms, Observing system evaluation, system user requirements, Observing system design, climate, weather, operational services

Received: 12 Dec 2018; Accepted: 05 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Marlon R. Lewis, Dalhousie University, Canada

Reviewed by:

Magdalena A. Balmaseda, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, United Kingdom
Yuhei Takaya, Meteorological Research Institute (MRI), Japan
Stan Wilson, Other
A.J. Dolman, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands  

Copyright: © 2019 Sloyan, Wilkin, Hill, Chidichimo, Cronin, Johannessen, Karstensen, Krug, Lee, Oka, Palmer, Rabe, Speich, Von Schuckmann, Weller and Yu. 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: Dr. Bernadette M. Sloyan, CSIRO Oceans and Atmopshere, Hobart, Australia,