1
INTRODUCTION

Our society is inextricably involved with the ocean. The ocean is a major part of the climate system and therefore influences our environment no matter where we live. Humanity uses vast quantities of marine organisms from plankton to fish, for needs ranging from food to pharmaceuticals. Marine recreation plays a vital part in renewing our bodies and spirits—and results in a highly profitable industry. Most international trade travels by sea and is often at the mercy of its state. Ocean waves reform our beaches and threaten property but also provide sport for suffers. The ocean determines to large measure the formation and tracks of dangerous cyclones. We pollute the ocean in a thousand ways but are coming to realize that such pollution is at a price.

Because of its close involvement with the ocean, society needs information about it in order to make sound decisions on a variety of topics. This requirement was realized at the international level sometime late in this century. Finally, in 1989 the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) called for the initiation of a global ocean observing system (GOOS). The purpose of GOOS is to provide a global framework or system to ensure global, long-term, systematic observations of the world ocean. In addition, GOOS is intended to provide mechanisms and infrastructure for data and information to be made available to institutions and nations to help solve problems related to changes in regional and global environments on various timescales. Through training and capacity building and by encouraging collaboration, GOOS will enable all nations to benefit from this information (IOC, 1996a).

The IOC has since been joined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) as cosponsors of GOOS. Formation of GOOS also was urged in 1990 by the Second World Climate Conference to provide ocean data needed as part of the Global Climate Observing System, the establishment of which was begun in 1992. In 1992 the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) also endorsed the concept of a system of global ocean observations to help understand and monitor environmental variability (UNCED, 1992). In addition, Chapter 17, Agenda 21, of the 1992 UNCED report calls for the developed nations to ''provide the financing for further development and implementation of the Global Ocean Observing System.''



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities 1 INTRODUCTION Our society is inextricably involved with the ocean. The ocean is a major part of the climate system and therefore influences our environment no matter where we live. Humanity uses vast quantities of marine organisms from plankton to fish, for needs ranging from food to pharmaceuticals. Marine recreation plays a vital part in renewing our bodies and spirits—and results in a highly profitable industry. Most international trade travels by sea and is often at the mercy of its state. Ocean waves reform our beaches and threaten property but also provide sport for suffers. The ocean determines to large measure the formation and tracks of dangerous cyclones. We pollute the ocean in a thousand ways but are coming to realize that such pollution is at a price. Because of its close involvement with the ocean, society needs information about it in order to make sound decisions on a variety of topics. This requirement was realized at the international level sometime late in this century. Finally, in 1989 the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) called for the initiation of a global ocean observing system (GOOS). The purpose of GOOS is to provide a global framework or system to ensure global, long-term, systematic observations of the world ocean. In addition, GOOS is intended to provide mechanisms and infrastructure for data and information to be made available to institutions and nations to help solve problems related to changes in regional and global environments on various timescales. Through training and capacity building and by encouraging collaboration, GOOS will enable all nations to benefit from this information (IOC, 1996a). The IOC has since been joined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) as cosponsors of GOOS. Formation of GOOS also was urged in 1990 by the Second World Climate Conference to provide ocean data needed as part of the Global Climate Observing System, the establishment of which was begun in 1992. In 1992 the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) also endorsed the concept of a system of global ocean observations to help understand and monitor environmental variability (UNCED, 1992). In addition, Chapter 17, Agenda 21, of the 1992 UNCED report calls for the developed nations to ''provide the financing for further development and implementation of the Global Ocean Observing System.''

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities GOOS OBJECTIVES AND APPROACH Implementation of GOOS is expected to be carried out by national agencies, organizations, and industries that will make the observations and produce the derived products and by national and international bodies that will archive and distribute the data and derived products and assist in their interpretation and use of the consequent information. Consequently, many intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations are involved. For example, the IOC is an intergovernmental organizations whose actions must reflect some level of consensus among member nations, while the ICSU is nongovernmental and its actions are therefore nonbinding on participating nations. An underlying principle is that a global ocean observing system is too large for any one nation to undertake but that, if plans for a system can be generally agreed upon, national contributions can be aggregated to constitute such a system. This observing system is therefore to be implemented by a community of nations, planned and coordinated through a formal GOOS structure (Figure 1). Part of that GOOS structure will need to address mechanisms to ensure that adequate numbers of trained observers are available and develop the ability of various nations to contribute dam of uniform quality. It has been agreed by the IOC that the observations which GOOS is designed to make should have certain characteristics. These characteristics are described as follows: Long-term—They should continue indefinitely. The continuity should be in the measures and not in the method; so, if methods are changed, overlap should be planned to ensure continuity of series with undiminished quality. Relevant—Quantities to be observed should be selected with end products in mind. Systematic—The spatial and temporal scales and the precision and accuracy of sampling should address specific objectives. Cost-effective—Where possible, observational methods that are economical and efficient should be selected. Routine—Data acquisition, quality control, and production and dissemination of products should be carried out in an operational manner.

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities FIGURE 1 - Relationship among various intergovernmental and nongovernmental entities responsible for planning and implementing GOOS internationally (after IOC, 1992).

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities Box 1 The Overall Objectives of GOOS To specify and detail in terms of space, time, quality, and other relevant factors the marine observational data needed on a continuing basis to meet the common and identifiable requirements of the world community of users of the oceanic environment. To develop and implement an internationally coordinated strategy for the gathering or acquisition of these data. To facilitate the development of uses and products of these data, and encourage and widen their application in use and protection of the marine environment. To facilitate means by which less-developed. nations can increase their capacity to acquire and use marine data according to the GOOS To coordinate the ongoing operation of GOOS and ensure its integration Within wider global observational and environmental management strategies. Source: IOC(1996a). The development of GOOS is considered a long-term activity beginning with identification of needs and scientific/technical planning. This development is being carried out using a modular approach. The objectives for the five modules are stated later in this chapter, and the status of their planning is described in Chapter 2. Overall development of COOS plans is the responsibility of the Joint Scientific and Technical Committee of GOOS (J-GOOS). Implementation of GOOS is proceeding using a phased approach, as is implementation for the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Ongoing contributions are being identified and acknowledged. Enhancements to existing systems are being sought now. Together the ongoing contributions and enhancements will form the initial observing system. Longer-term desirable additions are being identified for future implementation. Research and development needed for future refinement of the system is encouraged. Implementation will take the form of contributions from various national

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities agencies and the private sector. Overall responsibility for coordination of the implementation resides with the IOC-WMO-UNEP Committee for GOOS (I-GOOS). Continuing assessment of the system is considered essential. However, at this stage of development, responsibility for this phase is unclear. In a sense, I-GOOS can be considered the "board of directors" for GOOS. Having general responsibility for international planning and coordination of GOOS, this body interacts with nations and sponsoring organizations. To date, I-GOOS has met formally every other year (1993 and 1995), with planning sessions in alternate years (1994 and 1996). I-GOOS has commissioned the preparation of a Data Management Plan and a Space Plan (modeled on the analogous plans prepared for GCOS) to articulate the needs of the system in these areas. A draft data management plan exists. Both plans are being developed jointly with GCOS and the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS). THE GOOS MODULES As a starting point GOOS has been envisioned as consisting of five "modules." These modules are organized according to likely user interest. This concept is useful when planning the observations and products necessary to address user needs (Figure 2 from IOC 1996c, is an example from the health of the ocean [HOTO] module). However, there is much overlap between the modules. As the system becomes operational, it is intended that facilities, observations, networks, and products will be shared by all classes of users. The five modules are: (1) Climate Monitoring, Assessment, and Prediction; (2) Assessment and Prediction of the Health of the Ocean; (3) Monitoring and Assessment of Living Marine Resources; (4) Coastal Zone Management and Development; and (5) Marine Meteorological and Oceanographic Services. The scope and intent of each of the five modules described in the following subsections have been considered by the various GOOS bodies (IOC, 1996a). It is the responsibility of J-GOOS to oversee completion of the planning for these modules and to integrate and prioritize these plans. Climate Monitoring, Assessment, and Prediction The global atmosphere and the world's oceans are an interactive system. The oceans store, transport, and exchange heat with the atmosphere. The oceans are both a source and a sink for carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases." The oceans also drive the global cycle of evaporation and rainfall. Predicting climate variations longer than a few weeks demands that ocean behavior be taken

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities FIGURE 2 - Conceptual illustration of potential GOOS delivery pathways for the Health of the Ocean module (after IOC, 1996c). into account. The Climate Monitoring, Assessment, and Prediction module (commonly referred to simply as the climate module) will seek to reduce the uncertainty that now exists with regard to the ocean's role in climate variability. The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), to be developed jointly by WMO, IOC, ICSU, and UNEP, will provide comprehensive information on the total climate system. GCOS will involve a multidisciplinary range of physical, chemical, and biological variables and atmospheric, oceanic, hydraulic, cryospheric, and terrestrial processes. The GOOS climate module will constitute the oceanographic component of GCOS. It is being designed to monitor, describe, and understand the physical and biogeochemical processes in the ocean that determine ocean climate variability (particularly circulation) and their effects on seasonal and longer-term climate variability and to provide the observations needed for climate prediction. The scientific and technical design of the GOOS

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities climate module is being developed with oversight of GOOS GCOS, and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). If the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction is successfully developed, it will provide great impetus for the GOOS climate module. Assessment and Prediction of the Health of the Ocean The HOTO module aims to establish a framework for monitoring the levels and trends of pollution on global and regional scales and for assessments of the health of the ocean, in particular in the shelf and coastal areas. A primary objective of the HOTO module will be to monitor and assess contaminant loads in the marine environment (with particular emphasis on the state and response of marine ecosystems to both anthropogenic impact and natural change). Data collection and analysis are to be based on the use of commonly agreed to methods, standards, and techniques. The HOTO module will include regional components having specific observational networks geared to the problems of each region. The HOTO module must be closely related to the coastal and living marine resources modules. Monitoring and Assessment of Living Marine Resources The ocean's living resources depend on their environment. Changes to the marine environment will inevitably change the composition and behavior of the living resources it contains. The living marine resources (LMR) module will include development of a system to monitor the physical, biological, and chemical variables needed to describe the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems as well as changes in marine ecosystems over various space and time scales. Sustainable development of living marine resources requires predictive capabilities. Predictions must take into account the effects of environmental change on the abundance and production of these resources. GOOS will improve the continuity and quality of data sets, allow access to related information, and provide products benefiting the sustainable use of marine living resources. The LMR module will provide both specification and a framework for an adequate package of observations and analysis to understand and forecast major changes in the abundance and/or production of critical living marine resources over time scales of years to decades arising from changes in the carrying capacity and/or health of the ocean. Thus, the LMR and HOTO modules are closely coupled.

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities Coastal Zone Management and Development The GOOS coastal module is intended to provide the infrastructure necessary to produce products needed for a wide range of coastal-area management issues, such as environmental protection, vessel traffic services, aquaculture, coastal engineering, sports fishing, and boating. Monitoring and documenting changes in coastal and near-shore areas require an interdisciplinary approach that integrates physical, chemical, biological, and geological observations with socioeconomic aspects of coastal-zone use. The GOOS coastal module is of high priority to many coastal nations because of the importance of coastal areas for development and the effects of coastal changes on economic development and human habitation. It is acknowledged that such responsibilities in many cases should belong, in part, to regional GOOS organizations. Marine Meteorological and Oceanographic Services The fifth GOOS module is the marine meteorological and oceanographic services module. Extensive marine meteorological and oceanographic operational services are already available worldwide, in support of a large variety of user groups and applications, ranging from the safety of life and property at sea to major economic and commercial interests, such as offshore mining and industry, ship routing, fisheries, recreation, and tourism. These services are provided by both operational national agencies (e.g., national meteorological and/or oceanographic services) and private companies. The marine services module will seek to assist in enhancing the collection, exchange, and processing of oceanographic and meteorological data to support the improvement and expansion of existing services, as well as the development and implementation of new ones, in response to user requirements. Activities will be undertaken in collaboration with existing WMO and IOC activities, in particular the World Weather Watch, the WMO Marine Programme, and the Integrated Global Ocean Services System. U.S. GOOS The U.S. GOOS Interagency ad hoc Working Group (U.S. GOOS IWG) was established in 1993 to help coordinate efforts among U.S. agencies involved in GOOS. U.S. GOOS IWG meets monthly or bimonthly and provides a forum for various agencies involved to exchange information about GOOS activities and find areas for cooperation and mutual benefit. Partially in response to the 1994 National Research Council (NRC) report, Review of U.S. Planning for the

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities Global Ocean Observing System, the U.S. GOOS Interagency Project Office was established to facilitate the design and implementation of U.S. components of GOOS. The lead agency for GOOS in the United States is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is the site of the U.S. GOOS Interagency Project Office (U.S. GOOS Interagency Project Office, 1996). Box 2 U.S. GOOS Interagency ad hoc Working Group Terms of Reference The U.S. agencies interested in GOOS will cooperate in an Interagency ad hoc Working Group for U.S. GOOS (henceforth: U.S. GOOS IWG) with the following tasks: Document activities and plans that constitute U.S. GOOS efforts, to result in publication of a U.S. National GOOS Report for presentation at IOC GOOS meetings and other events (e.g., WMO, ICSU, U.S. interagency meetings). Formulate and agree to U.S. positions for IOC GOOS and other formal meetings. Coordinate, pro tem, U.S. activities related to the international Global Ocean Observing System Define, develop, and implement a mechanism for long term, formalized interagency coordination of U.S. GOOS. Serve as an advocate for U.S. GOOS within and among agencies. The U.S. GOOS Interagency ad hoc Working Group will be chaired by NOAA (National Ocean Service). The U.S. GOOS Interagency ad hoc Working Group will provide periodic progress reports to the Ocean Studies Board, Marine Board, and Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate of the National Research Council, Subcommittee on U.S. Coastal Science of the Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences, and other groups as appropriate. Source: U.S. GOOS Interagency Project Office

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities Each year the U.S. GOOS Interagency Project Office produces a compendium of activities contributing to a U.S. GOOS by its membership (e.g., NOAA, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Energy, Department of the Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, Minerals Management Service, Department of State). These reports are a useful source of Box 3 OBJECTIVES OF THE TASK FORCE ON OBSERVATIONS AND DATA MANAGEMENT (TFODM) Coordinate the development of an inventory of Continuing global and regional operational and research environmental observations (especially those with long data records and observational persistence) and data and information management systems for all environmental and natural resources activities Coordinate research observation and data systems requirements, both current and future. Assess the needs of the CENR subcommittees ranging from global to place-based and from long-term to snapshots so that existing and new observational and data technologies may best be used to address these requirements. Identify overlaps and gaps in research observation and data management efforts, and use this knowledge to recommend new initiatives or restructure current ones to make best use of research resources. Promote the development of a more comprehensive system of global and national observations that provide data types and resolutions (spatial and temporal) needed for research activities but presently not available. Promote the development of a system to manage this extensive information, integrate it with data and information from other sources, and make it widely available and easily used by the research community at international, national, state, and local levels. Ensure that the data collected can be used to provide credible information on the environment to meet CENR objectives. Collect feedback from the subcommittees on the availability, adequacy, and

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities utility of environmental space-and Earth-based observational data. Establish close working relationships with the environmental modeling community to assist with four-dimensional data assimilation, and with the High Performance Computing and Communications Information Technology (HPCCIT) Subcommittee of the NSTC Committee on Information and Communications R&D (CIC) to link data and information systems research with high performance computing research. Develop and test ways to improve the usefulness of observations and data and derived information to national and international initiatives in such areas as global change; geographic information systems; national security; sustainable development, including: biodiversity conservation; ecosystem protection, restoration, and management; and improvement of human health and welfare. Provide the U.S. Secretariat for the International Global Observing System programs such as the Global Climate Observing System, the Global Ocean Observing System and the Global Terrestrial Observing System, and coordination of associated data management activities. Promote the continuance and extension of the policy of full and open exchange of data for environmental research. Promote the U.S. position in international global observing and data management system forums. Source: Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (1996). information on the state of U.S. efforts in various aspects of GOOS (U.S. IWG 1993, U.S. GOOS Interagency Project Office 1995, 1996). Aside from the U.S. GOOS IWG, a number of federal entities are involved in formulating and implementing observing systems. The Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) is one of eight R&D coordinating committees chartered under the President's National Science and Technology Council. The role of CENR is to improve coordination of all federal environmental and natural resources research activities, to establish a strong link between science and policy, and to develop and oversee policies and strategies that respond to national and international concerns and agreements.

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities In July 1995 CENR requested that its Task Force on Observations and Data Management (TFODM) develop a plan for organizing U.S. civil earth observations in the context of an integrated global observing strategy (IGOS). TFODM developed a draft entitled Concept for an Integrated Global Observation Strategy in February 1996. The intent of the strategy is to promote communication and coordination among responsible federal agencies and help translate the recommendations of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) and the GOOS into nationally funded activities within a common framework (U.S. GOOS Interagency Project Office, 1996). NRC COMMITTEE FOR THE GLOBAL OCEAN OBSERVING SYSTEM In the fall of 1994, M. G. Briscoe, then chairman of U.S. GOOS IWG, requested that the NRC's Ocean Studies Board create a committee on the Global Ocean Observing System and conduct a follow-up to the 1994 NRC report, Review of U.S. Planning for the Global Ocean Observing System (see Appendix A). This new study was intended to provide information and advice to U.S. GOOS IWG to help define and implement an effective, affordable, and customer-based U.S. contribution to GOOS. In particular, the committee was charged with identifying priorities and cost-benefit tradeoffs where possible and with recommending additional efforts of this type, if needed. Specific charges to the committee were to (1) provide advice to U.S. agencies regarding a practical concept for GOOS as a primarily operational activity with an emphasis on identifying potential applications and users of GOOS during the next 3 to 5 years and beyond; (2) recommend appropriate roles for industry and academia in GOOS to help ensure that user needs are addressed adequately; (3) prioritize (to the extent possible) observational and infrastructural activities that should be undertaken or continued by the United States in its initial commitments to GOOS, including pilot programs; and (4) update (as needed) the NRC report, Review of U.S. Planning for the Global Ocean Observing System. To accomplish this task, three fundamental types of information developed by the committee are contained in this, the resulting report: (1) history, organization, and focus of GOOS (at both international and national scales); (2) discussion of the potential users and benefits of GOOS; and (3) recommendations for improving the function of the structure and facilitating the implementation of GOOS plans. Many of these recommendations were originally put forward in the 1994 National Research Program (NRC) report, Review of U.S. Planning for the Global Ocean Observing System. In an effort to both update and expand upon that report, the committee chose to repeat and support specific recommendations from it that have yet to be adequately implemented. It is hoped that by providing

OCR for page 7
The Global Ocean Observing System: Users, Benefits, and Priorities an expanded discussion of the users and benefits of GOOS (Chapter 4), that this report will help provide impetus to the implementation of: those and other recommendations. Although many readers may find the entire report of value, the broad nature of the committee's task has resulted in a report that deals with a broad range of topics. Readers interested in a general discussion of GOOS may find the organizational details of GOOS contained in Chapters 2 and 3 imposing and may wish to concentrate on Chapters 4 and 5. Readers interested in a comprehensive discussion of the origin and complexities associated with a global efforts of the type represented by GOOS should find Chapters 2 and 3 of value.