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their unprecedented data sets (e.g., global coverage, high space-time resolution, multiparameter variables, and long-time series). Maximum use of these data, often beyond the planned scope of the individual program, must be encouraged and facilitated. When appropriate, joint Announcements of Opportunity (AOs) for inter-program synthesis should be issued. Ideas for joint AOs could come from SSCs working together. These joint AOs could focus synthesis on interdisciplinary topics and foster future interdisciplinary research when appropriate.
For a successful synthesis, it is essential to preserve and ensure timely access to the data sets developed as part of each program's activities. As stated in NSF policy (NSF 94-126. Appendix G), data must be submitted to national data centers no later than two years after the data are collected. Archived data should also include models and model products. The repositories of major ocean program data should be the appropriate national facility (i.e., the National Oceanographic Data Center, National Climatic Data Center, National Geophysical Data Center, National Snow and Ice Data Center, or the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center). It is in the best interests of the oceanographic research community that these national data centers accommodate the varied types of data and models generated by the major ocean programs. The sponsors and steering committees of the major oceanographic programs should work with the federal agencies and these national data centers to implement oversight procedures to periodically review the utility and responsiveness of these centers to the user community.
Lessons From Existing Programs
A characteristic common to all major oceanographic programs is a commitment to contribute in a significant way to a more complete understanding of fundamental earth system processes. They have developed contrasting investigative strategies and implementation plans, depending on the character of the scientific questions that major oceanographic programs have addressed. Some major oceanographic programs have required a series of synoptic measurements at a large-scale to achieve their scientific goals (e.g., WOCE, JGOFS, and GLOBEC); others have been dependent on the sequencing and integration of a host of programs designed to contribute to the solution of an overarching interdisciplinary problem (e.g., RIDGE and CoOP). Yet another, ODP, has used a unique investigative facility, a drilling platform, that brings together a research community with diverse research interests and creates an integrated research endeavor. Even though each major oceanographic program has been configured to meet its particular research goals, each one has shared a similar set of programmatic requirements that must be fulfilled if the major program is to attain its full potential.
When questioned about specifics of program organization. SSC questionnaire respondents mentioned similar requirements time and time again regardless