An Overview of Global Observing Systems Relevant to GODAE
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB STENNIS SPACE CENTER MS OCEANOGRAPHY DIV
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A global ocean observing system for the physical climate system, comprising both in situ and satellite components, was conceived largely at the Ocean Observations conference in St. Raphael. France, in October 1999. It was recognized that adequate information was not available on the state of the world ocean or its regional variations to address a range of important societal needs. Subsequent work by the marine carbon community and others in the ocean science and operational communities led to an agreed international plan described in the Global Climate Observing System GCOS Implementation Plan GCOS-92, 2004. This foundation observing system was designed to meet climate requirements, but also supports weather prediction, global and coastal ocean prediction, marine hazard warning systems, transportation, marine environment and ecosystem monitoring, and naval applications. Here, we describe efforts made to reach the goals set out in the international plan. Thanks to these efforts, most of the ice-free ocean above 2000-miles is now being observed systematically for the first time, and a global repeat hydrographic survey and selected transport measurements supplement these networks. The system is both integrated and composite. It depends upon in situ and satellite networks that measure the same variable using different sensors. In this way, optimum use is made of all available platforms and sensors to maximize coverage and attain maximum accuracy. The biggest challenge for the greater oceanographic community -- including both research and operational components -- will be demonstrating impacts and benefits sufficient to justify the funds needed to complete the observing system, as well as to sustain its funding for the long term.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography