6
PRIORITIES FOR U.S. GOOS ACTIVITIES

Many ocean observations are in a state of transition. Investments in repeat expendable bathythermograph (XBT) sections by the U.S. Navy have been reevaluated and shifted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Long-running research programs (e.g., the World Oceans Circulation Experiment [WOCE], Tropical Oceans and Global Atmosphere [TOGA], and Joint Global Ocean Flux Study [JGOFS]) are finishing, and operational funding for continuing some of their observations as part of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) has not been forthcoming. In some cases, long-running time-series stations are threatened by lack of support in the near future. Because of the uncertain status of many observations, it is critical that GOOS move forward in a timely manner and act wisely to establish its priorities. In doing so, the United States should act in consideration not only of users and benefits in this nation but also its potential leadership role in building a truly global observing system.

PRIORITIES FOR OBSERVATIONS

Planning for the climate module is well advanced, and initial prioritization of GOOS activities has been made. The Health of the Ocean (HOTO) module also has advanced to the point that several activities of high priority to GOOS are identified. As recommended in Chapter 3, the U.S. GOOS Interagency ad hoc Working Group (U.S. GOOS IWG), in concert with the agencies, should select a small number of major efforts of highest priority for immediate implementation.

As discussed earlier, some potential U.S. GOOS activities are already under way through single or multiagency efforts and need only modest expansion plus national identification as a high-priority component of U.S. GOOS. These efforts have been thoroughly reviewed and are generally anticipated to become part of U.S. and international GOOS at some time.

Successful and useful predictions depend on adequate monitoring. The committee agrees with the 1994 National Research Council (NRC) report, Review of U.S. Planning for the Global Ocean Observing System, and repeats



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OCR for page 66
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities 6 PRIORITIES FOR U.S. GOOS ACTIVITIES Many ocean observations are in a state of transition. Investments in repeat expendable bathythermograph (XBT) sections by the U.S. Navy have been reevaluated and shifted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Long-running research programs (e.g., the World Oceans Circulation Experiment [WOCE], Tropical Oceans and Global Atmosphere [TOGA], and Joint Global Ocean Flux Study [JGOFS]) are finishing, and operational funding for continuing some of their observations as part of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) has not been forthcoming. In some cases, long-running time-series stations are threatened by lack of support in the near future. Because of the uncertain status of many observations, it is critical that GOOS move forward in a timely manner and act wisely to establish its priorities. In doing so, the United States should act in consideration not only of users and benefits in this nation but also its potential leadership role in building a truly global observing system. PRIORITIES FOR OBSERVATIONS Planning for the climate module is well advanced, and initial prioritization of GOOS activities has been made. The Health of the Ocean (HOTO) module also has advanced to the point that several activities of high priority to GOOS are identified. As recommended in Chapter 3, the U.S. GOOS Interagency ad hoc Working Group (U.S. GOOS IWG), in concert with the agencies, should select a small number of major efforts of highest priority for immediate implementation. As discussed earlier, some potential U.S. GOOS activities are already under way through single or multiagency efforts and need only modest expansion plus national identification as a high-priority component of U.S. GOOS. These efforts have been thoroughly reviewed and are generally anticipated to become part of U.S. and international GOOS at some time. Successful and useful predictions depend on adequate monitoring. The committee agrees with the 1994 National Research Council (NRC) report, Review of U.S. Planning for the Global Ocean Observing System, and repeats

OCR for page 66
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities its recommendation that the United States take a leadership role in GOOS by: Converting relevant parts of the TOGA research observing system to operational status Maintaining and improving global measurements of absolute and relative sea level, surface wind stress, sea ice extent and concentration, and continuation of satellite altimetry missions Maintaining and improving the monitoring of global sea surface temperatures and salinities, upper-ocean thermal and salinity structure, and temperature and salinity structure at select deep-ocean sites Identifying and committing resources to a selected set of time-series stations and programs, as "permanent" sections, stations, and moored and drifting instrument deployments to be repeated over the long term both in and out of the tropics Fully implementing the International Mussel Watch Supporting ongoing efforts to determine the health of coral reefs worldwide such as the United Nations sponsored Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GMRMZN) Proceeding with site selection and establishment of initial estuarine and coastal index sites for coastal U.S. GOOS implementation Supporting the acquisition and processing of satellite ocean color data A key goal of GOOS is to compile, assess, and utilize long records of high quality. It is critical that adequate provision be made for the quality control and archiving of GOOS data. Moreover, many of the products produced from these data sets have long-term value and likewise should be archived. In its initial phase GOOS will draw from existing observational networks that already have the necessary infrastructure for quality control and data management. Attention should focus initially on making data readily and reliably available to users. As GOOS continues to grow (i.e., as new observations are added), attention should be paid to archiving and ensuring the availability of the data.