85th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 10 January 2005: 4:15 PM
The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System: Industry Perspective and Specific Examples of Global and Regional Applications
Thomas C. Malone, Ocean.US Office for Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observations, Arlington, VA; and S. Piotrowicz, M. E. Luther, and R. L. Cohen
Some 100 ocean nations are participating in the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), which is coordinated by United Nations agencies. It is an end-to-end system of observations, data management, and production and distribution of products/services. At the request of the United States Congress, the federal agencies of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) are planning and developing an Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) for the U.S. The Ocean.US Office is coordinating this effort. The IOOS consists of (1) a U.S. contribution to the global component of Global Ocean Observing System focused on climate and maritime services and (2) a coastal observing system for the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, estuaries, and Great Lakes. IOOS is intended to provide information to help: Detect and forecast oceanic components of climate variability Facilitate safe and efficient marine operations Ensure national security Manage marine resources Preserve and restore healthy marine ecosystems Mitigate natural hazards Ensure public health The coastal component will consist of a "National Backbone" of observations and data products from our coastal ocean supported by federal agencies and contributions of Regional Coastal Ocean Observing Systems.

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.

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