Ocean observing has come a long way since the Ocean Sciences Decadal Committee met over a decade ago. Since then, our use of the ocean and coast and their vast resources has increased substantially with increased shipping, fishing, offshore energy development and recreational boating. That increased use has also spearheaded advances in observing systems. Cutting-edge autonomous and remotely operated vehicles scour the surface and travel to depths collecting essential biogeochemical data for better managing our marine resources. Satellites enable the global mapping of practically every physical ocean variable imaginable. A nationally-integrated coastal network of high-frequency radars lines the borders of the U.S. feeding critical navigation, response, and environmental information continuously. Federal, academic, and industry communities have joined in unique partnerships at regional, national, and global levels to address common challenges to monitoring our ocean.
The 2002 Workshop, Building Consensus: Toward an Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observing System laid the framework for the current United States Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS). Ten years later, U.S. IOOS has moved from concept to reality, though much work remains to meet the nation's ocean observing needs. Today, new research and technologies, evolving users and user requirements, economic and funding challenges, and diverse institutional mandates all influence the future growth and implementation of U.S. IOOS. In light of this new environment, the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC) will host the 2012 Integrated Ocean Observing System Summit in November 2012, providing a forum to develop a comprehensive ocean observing vision for the next decade, utilizing the knowledge and expertise gained by the IOOS-wide community over the past ten years. This effort to bring together ocean observing stakeholders at the regional, national, and global levels to address these challenges going forward: - Enhancing information delivery and integration to save lives, enhance the economy and protect the environment - Disseminating seamless information across regional and national boundaries - Harnessing technological innovations for new frontiers and opportunities
The anticipated outcomes of the IOOS Summit include a highlight of the past decade of progress towards an integrated system, revisiting and updating user requirements, an assessment of existing observing system capabilities and gaps, identifying integration challenges/opportunities, and, establishing an U.S. IOOS-community-wide vision for the next 10 years of ocean observing. Most important will be the execution of priorities identified before and during the Summit, carrying them forward into a new decade of an enhanced Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observing System.