Future Changes in
Committee on Sustaining Ocean Observations to
Understand Future Changes in Earth’s Climate
Ocean Studies Board
Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
Division on Earth and Life Studies
A Consensus Study Report of
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This activity was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Award Number WC133R-11-CQ-0048 and the National Academy of Sciences’ Arthur L. Day Fund. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-46680-6
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-46680-6
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/24919
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Cover image credits: Upper left, NOAA AOML; Upper middle, Climate Central/SOCCOM (https://soccom.princeton.edu/); Upper right, NASA; Middle, Argo Program (http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/, http://doi.org/10.17882/42182); Lower right, NOAA PMEL; Lower left, Hans Graber, University of Miami; Middle left, NOAA AOML.
Suggested citation: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Sustaining Ocean Observations to Understand Future Changes in Earth’s Climate. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/24919.
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COMMITTEE ON SUSTAINING OCEAN OBSERVATIONS TO UNDERSTAND FUTURE CHANGES IN EARTH’S CLIMATE
MARY M. GLACKIN, Co-Chair, The Weather Company, an IBM Business, Washington, D.C.
ROBERT A. WELLER, Co-Chair, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts
EDWARD A. BOYLE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
ROBERT B. DUNBAR, Stanford University, California
ROBERT HALLBERG, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey
PATRICK HEIMBACH, University of Texas at Austin
MARK MERRIFIELD, University of Hawaii at Manoa
DEAN ROEMMICH, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
LYNNE D. TALLEY, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
MARTIN VISBECK, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany
SUSAN ROBERTS, Director, Ocean Studies Board
EMILY TWIGG, Associate Program Officer, Ocean Studies Board
APRIL MELVIN, Associate Program Officer, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
ALEXANDRA PHILLIPS, Senior Program Assistant, Ocean Studies Board
OCEAN STUDIES BOARD
LARRY A. MAYER, Chair, University of New Hampshire, Durham
E. VIRGINIA ARMBRUST, University of Washington, Seattle
KEVIN R. ARRIGO, Stanford University, California
CLAUDIA BENITEZ-NELSON, University of South Carolina, Columbia
RITA R. COLWELL, University of Maryland, College Park
SARAH W. COOKSEY, State of Delaware, Dover
JAMES A. ESTES, University of California, Santa Cruz
DAVID HALPERN, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
PATRICK HEIMBACH, University of Texas at Austin
SUSAN E. HUMPHRIS, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
BONNIE J. MCCAY, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
S. BRADELY MORAN, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
STEVEN A. MURAWSKI, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg
JOHN A. ORCUTT, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
H. TUBA ÖZKAN-HALLER, Oregon State University, Corvallis
MARTIN D. SMITH, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
MARGARET SPRING, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California
DOUGLAS WARTZOK, Florida International University, Miami
LISA D. WHITE, University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco State University
ROBERT S. WINOKUR, Michigan Tech Research Institute, Silver Spring, Maryland
SUSAN ROBERTS, Director
STACEE KARRAS, Program Officer
EMILY TWIGG, Associate Program Officer
PAMELA LEWIS, Administrative Coordinator
ALEXANDRA PHILLIPS, Senior Program Assistant
SHUBHA BANSKOTA, Financial Associate
JAMES HEISS, Postdoctoral Fellow
BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE
A. R. RAVISHANKARA, Chair, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
SHUYI S. CHEN, Vice Chair, University of Washington, Seattle
CECILIA BITZ, University of Washington, Seattle
MARK A. CANE, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
HEIDI CULLEN, Climate Central, Princeton, New Jersey
ROBERT DUNBAR, Stanford University, California
PAMELA EMCH, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, California
ARLENE FIORE, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
PETER FRUMHOFF, Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, Massachusetts
WILLIAM B. GAIL, Global Weather Corporation, Boulder, Colorado
MARY GLACKIN, The Weather Company, Washington, D.C.
TERRI S. HOGUE, Colorado School of Mines, Golden
EVERETTE JOSEPH, SUNY University at Albany, New York
RONALD “NICK” KEENER, JR., Duke Energy Corporation, Charlotte, North Carolina
ROBERT KOPP, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey
L. RUBY LEUNG, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington
JONATHAN MARTIN, University of Wisconsin–Madison
JONATHAN OVERPECK, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
ALLISON STEINER, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
DAVID W. TITLEY, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
DUANE WALISER, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
Ocean Studies Board Liaison
DAVID HALPERN, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
AMANDA STAUDT, Director
DAVID ALLEN, Senior Program Officer
LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer
KATHERINE THOMAS, Senior Program Officer
LAUREN EVERETT, Program Officer
APRIL MELVIN, Associate Program Officer
AMANDA PURCELL, Program Officer
YASMIN ROMITTI, Research Associate
RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator
SHELLY FREELAND, Financial Associate
ROB GREENWAY, Program Associate
MICHAEL HUDSON, Senior Program Assistant
ERIN MARKOVICH, Senior Program Assistant/Research Assistant
This report was greatly enhanced by discussions with participants at the Committee’s meetings and workshops as part of this study. The Committee would like to acknowledge, especially, the efforts of those who gave presentations at the Committee meetings: Krisa Arzayus (NOAA), Cynthia Atherton (Heising-Simons Foundation), Jim Baker (Clinton Foundation), Molly Baringer (NOAA), Annalisa Bracco (Georgia Institute of Technology), Ryan Carlon (Liquid Robotics), Andy Clark (Marine Technology Society), Emmett Duffy (Smithsonian Institution), Michael Freilich (NASA), Katy Hill (World Meteorological Organization), John Holdren (White House Office of Science and Technology Policy), Greg Johnson (NOAA), David Legler (NOAA), Adena Leibman (Office of Senator Whitehouse), Eric Lindstrom (NASA, Global Ocean Observing System), Craig McLean (NOAA), Marcia McNutt (National Academy of Sciences), Gary Mitchum (University of South Florida), Rick Murray (National Science Foundation), Mike Patterson (U.S. CLIVAR Project Office), Allison Reed (U.S. Department of State), Spencer Reeder (Paul Allen Foundation), Kathleen Ritzman (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), Chris Sabine (NOAA), Ray Schmitt (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Sophie Seeyave (Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans), Rick Spinrad (NOAA), Jed Sundwall (Amazon Web Services, Inc.), John Trowbridge (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Roger Wakimoto (National Science Foundation), Stan Wilson (NOAA), Zdenka Willis (Integrated Ocean Observing System), Bob Winokur (Michigan Technological University), Nathalie Zilberman (Scripps Institution of Oceanography). The committee would also like to thank staff at JCOMMOPS for providing data on observing programs used in the tables and figures of the report.
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Melbourne Briscoe, Ocean Geeks, LLC
David Halpern, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pierre-Yves Le Traon, Mercator Ocean
Eric Lindstrom, NASA
Frank Millero, University of Miami
Josie Quintrell, IOOS Association
Chris Sabine, NOAA
Bernadette Sloyan, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere
Carl Wunsch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before the release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert Duce, Texas A&M University, College Station, and William Young, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
The global ocean covers some 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. In responding to the growing awareness that the ocean plays a key role in the climate of the Earth, its variability, and change in the climate, many nations and a number of intergovernmental agencies have moved forward to support and coordinate sustained observing of the ocean. Yet, there are many challenges that arise in building toward an observing system that reaches to include the remote regions and full depths of the ocean.
At meetings of the ocean science community in recent years, Carl Wunsch, D. James Baker, and Ray Schmitt have given talks and led Town Hall meetings to stimulate the community to think of how best to proceed to develop a plan and support for sustained ocean observing. They brought the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine into the dialog, and this study, funded by the National Academies’ Arthur L. Day Fund with additional support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is one result.
The Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies developed the statement of task for this committee, inspired by discussions with Carl Wunsch, D. James Baker, and Ray Schmitt. Notionally, a two-phase approach to this topic of sustaining ocean observations to understand future changes in Earth’s climate was developed. In the first stage, which is the work of this committee, the goals include considerations of what observations are most critical, of the specifications for those observations, of the present approaches to sustained ocean observing, and of the challenges to long-term ocean observing. A second stage was also discussed, where new models or approaches to sustained ocean observing would be pursued.
This report builds on the inputs from many in the ocean science community, reflecting what was learned at a workshop convened by the committee and a number of invited presentations. The contributors are listed in the Acknowledgments section. The committee is also greatly indebted to Study Directors Susan Roberts and Emily Twigg, April Melvin, and staff from the Ocean Studies Board and the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. This report came to fruition through their efforts.
Mary Glackin and Robert A. Weller, Committee Co-Chairs
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