05.07.2011 - Natural Sciences Sector

IOC Assembly Resolves to Strengthen and Streamline GOOS


On July 4, 2011 the IOC XXVI Assembly resolved to reconstitute the GOOS governance with the goal of strengthening the observing system and streamlining its organization.

The new structure of GOOS will follow the advice given by a post-Ocean Obs ’09 working group which has recommended a Framework for Ocean Observing. Within this new structure, existing GOOS intergovernmental and scientific committees will be replaced by an expert GOOS Steering Committee (GSC) which will guide GOOS implementation and report directly to the IOC Assembly. This new GSC will work closely together with all relevant ocean observing communities to constructively plan and move forward a Global Ocean Observing System responding to scientifically and societally set requirements.

Following the recommendations of the Framework for Ocean Observing, the emphasis of the GOOS Steering Committee will be the identification of Essential Ocean Variables, (EOVs), the physical, chemical, biogeochemical or ecological parameters of the oceans which can be measured, observed and used to continuously assess the state of the oceans. The GSC shall endeavor to assess and improve "readiness" of each EOV to be measured in a sustained way, and encourage the observation systems of the world to regularly assess the fitness-for-purpose of the outputs of the ocean observing system, in order to feed back into updated requirements.

The next steps in building the new GOOS structure will be the nomination and appointment of the ocean observation experts who will make up the GOOS Steering Committee. Five members will give IOC Assembly regional representation, while ten experts will assure active engagement from the ocean observation research, implementation and marine management communities. In addition to these, ex-officio representatives of appropriate coordinating and implementing bodies, both within and outside the IOC, will serve on the GSC. It is expected that during the Fall 2011, the new GOOS Steering Committee will be formed and will hold its first meeting in January 2012.

GOOS will be developing and supporting many opportunities and responding to new requirements in the coming years: incorporation of new biogeochemical observation systems; the delivery of coastal marine management products and tools; the incorporation of new modeling and analysis systems at local scales for coastal and regional seas; continued development of the GOOS presence in Africa, Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries; integration of Tsunami Warning System data streams into GOOS and many others. The new Strengthened and Streamlined GOOS sets the stage to respond to these new opportunities and challenges.

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