Global Ocean Observing System - Why a GOOS
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The ocean covers 71% of the Earth's surface, and is linked to human livelihoods in numerous ways.  From its role in modulating the climate to how it provides a variety of socio-economical, cultural and environmental benefits, the ocean contributes greatly to human wellbeing.

A better understanding of ocean climate and ecosystems, as well as human impacts and vulnerabilities, requires the coordination of a continuous and long-term system of ocean observations.  In this context, the GOOS coordinates observations around the global ocean for three critical themes: climate, ocean health, and real-time services. These themes correspond to the GOOS mandate to contribute to the UNFCCC Convention on climate change, the UN convention on biodiversity and the IOC/WMO mandates to provide operational ocean services, respectively.


Ocean Health

The global ocean offers a variety of social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits to human livelihoods.  Scientific evidence shows that ocean health, measured in terms of productivity, species diversity and resilience, is both impacted by and threatening human activities. The GOOS contributes to the ocean health theme by facilitating ocean monitoring for the conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of sustainable ocean ecosystem services. Read more...

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Real-time Services

Real-time ocean data services provide improved weather forecasts and early warning for ocean-related hazards at the coast. This enhances the safety and efficiency of all ocean industries strengthening the global maritime economy. Societies and economies also benefit from this near-term ocean and climate information, such as El Niño forecasts, that are essential to global agriculture, water management, and disaster risk reduction.  Read more...



A changing climate is linked to a changing ocean. Warming results in land and sea ice melt, and increased carbon uptake is causing ocean acidification, both at alarming rates.  The accurate modeling of global climate change and variability, and the monitoring of impacts of climate change mitigation programs, require sustained and extended observations, including those in the deep ocean and in remote regions. Read more...

Find out more on how the GOOS ocean observations links to the mandates and related themes in the GOOS strategic mapping tool.