Observations of oceanic variables, such as currents, water levels, temperatures, and surface meteorology, have been available in real-time from several locations around the U.S. for a number of years and constitute prototypes for the IOOS. Some successes of these systems include increased safety and efficiency of maritime transportation, improved search and rescue, improved response to spills of hazardous materials, and increased efficiency of electric power generation in coastal regions. Specific examples will be presented from the NOAA Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS; see http://www.co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/d_ports.html), from the New Jersey Shelf Observing System (http://rucool.rutgers.edu/mrs/), and from other regional efforts.
Improved metocean (meteorological and oceanographic) data from IOOS can be used for a number of applications, including marine transportation and site-specific forecasting, to increase safety and efficiency of operations in the coastal zone. The use of IOOS data for these applications is discussed from a private sector viewpoint.
The Argo array of profiling floats is a pilot project of the Global Ocean Observing System. The U. S. contribution to that program is implemented under the NOPP through a competitively procured research grant to a consortium of federal and academic institutions. Developing the protocols and structure for Argo to move from pilot project status to pre-operational and, eventually, operational status is a long-term goal of the program. Continuing involvement of the research community for technical research and development and scientific analysis and interpretation is critical to successful implementation. Lessons learned provide insight into the collaborative implementation of a long-term observational program.