The Global Ocean Observing System was created in March 1991 by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO in response to calls from the Second World Climate Conference in Geneva, 1990.

It was also the result of many nations’ need to improve climate change forecasts, manage marine resources to mitigate the effects of natural disasters, and use the coastal zone and coastal ocean more effectively.

The late 1990s saw the development of sampling requirements for various ocean applications driven by societal needs, including in situ and satellite observing platforms.

“GOOS was created to keep the ocean healthy and abundant with life, provide high-sea and coastal data services and address climate change. This vision still guides us towards the ocean we want.”

Dr. Valdimir Ryabinin, IOC Executive Secretary

These were associated with the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) developed by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) which took into account technical feasibility and impact for improving climate change understanding and projection. The GOOS ocean measurement systems were initially designed by the Ocean Observing System Development Panel, refined in the 1998 Action Plan for GOOS/GCOS and refined further in a series of GCOS Implementation Plans.

A vision for societally beneficial ocean observations for an expanding set of users was defined at the OceanObs’09 conference in Venice, attended by over 600 representatives from 36 countries.

This called for a framework to plan and move forward an enhanced global observing system integrating existing and new physical, biogeochemical and biological observations.

We started implementing framework concepts and expanded our Expert Panels to meet a broader set of observation and integration needs. Our 2030 Strategy is guiding us into the future.

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