Global Ocean Observing System - Physics and Climate Accomplishments
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The OceanObs Conferences are major events in the ocean community every 10 years. OOPC was instrumental in coordinating the first two conferences:

  • OceanObs’99 created a consensus within the ocean observing communities to undertake an internationally coordinated sustained global ocean observing system for physical climate and ocean carbon, the details of which were subsequently agreed and presented in the first GCOS Implementation Plan.
  • OceanObs’09 demonstrated the scientific and societal benefits of the sustained ocean observing system and began the process of expanding the range of communities working together to undertake more comprehensive and sustain ocean observation in order to develop an integrated-multidisciplinary observing system from the open ocean to the coast. It also led to the development of the Framework for Ocean Observing to facilitate the selection and implementation of new EOVs.  


OOPC was involved, with partners, in many activities that led to agreements concerning the different components of the observing programmes, including:

  • 1997: A review of the Global Sea Level Observing System and the roles of tide gauges and altimetry.
  • 1997: Formation of the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE). GODAE introduced real-time operational ocean analysis and forecasting to the global community and became an influential force in the remote-sensing community, allowing requirements to be articulated across all timescales.
  • 1998: A review of the Expendable Bathythermograph (SBT) Ship-of-Opportunity Programme (SOOP), taking account of the complementary plans of the International Argo Programme.
  • 1999: Establishment of the OceanSITES moored time-series initiative.
  • 2000: Development of the International Argo Array of profiling floats began. Argo was initiated by GODAE and the WCRP Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) Project, but the overarching support of OOPC was critical, since it enabled the facilitation of an intergovernmental agreement on deployment (particularly with the South Pacific nations) and data exchange through IOC and WMO. Argo is one of the greatest achievements of the ocean observing community.
  • 2000: Co-sponsorship of a workshop on the Indian Ocean, held in Perth, Australia, that let ultimately to the creation of a regional alliance to support GOOS in the Indian Ocean (IOGOOS).
  • 2001: A review of the Topical Moored Buoy Array.
  • 2002: Formation of the GODAE (now Global) High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST) project; OOPC’s indirect sponsorship was vital to bringing climate-change consideration into the plan.
  • 2007: The Global Shipboard Hydrography Programme (GO-SHIP) spawned by the World Ocean Circulation Experiment and CLIVAR research programmes.


 More recently, OOPC has been involved in systems-based-reviews of the observing system, some of which are developing into finite-lifetime development projects:

  • 2011: The Deep Ocean Observing Strategy (DOOS) A workshop on the deep ocean was held, which led to the broader GOOS community being engaged in develop the Deep Ocean Observing Strategy (DOOS). The Strategy articulates the requirements for, and approaches to, systematic observations of the deep ocean. For more information, see 
  • 2014: The Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS)  Precipitated by challenges in sustaining key components of the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS), OOPC, with NOAA and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, coordinated a workshop to evaluate the requirements for, and approaches to, observing the Tropical Pacific. The Workshop recommended the formation of a finite-lifetime TPOS 2020 project (established in 2014) to oversee the transformation of the TPOS to become more robust, integrated and sustainable. For more information on TPOS 2020, see