Covid-19 and Ocean Observations 

DetailsPublished: 29 June 2020

COVID-19 threatens to create an ocean data blindspot that could disrupt weather forecasts and hamper our understanding of climate change.

As the world responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, our ability to observe the global oceans was dramatically impacted in ways not seen before. Governments and oceanographic institutions recalled nearly all oceanographic research vessels to home ports, some commercial ships were unable to contribute vital ocean and weather observations, and ocean buoys and other systems could not be maintained, leading to premature failure. Even autonomous equipment could not be deployed to cover gaps in the system. The observations from these systems are vital to marine, climate, and weather forecasts and warnings. They should be recognized as essential and their operations enabled and supported to ensure their continuity.

To gain a global view of this risk, the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) launched a Covid-19 impacts survey in April 2020 to assess and forecast the pandemic’s impact on global ocean observations.

For more information on survey results:

For questions, quotes, or interview requests related to the effects of Covid-19 restrictions on ocean observations, weather forecasts or climate change activites, email us.

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