Observing the Global Oceans: the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)

The principal contribution of UNESCO to issues related to rising sea-levels is the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), a collaborative international effort led by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC). GOOS is a system of programmes, each of which is working on different and complementary aspects of establishing an operational ocean observation capability for all of the world's nations. UN sponsorship and UNESCO-IOC assemblies assure that international cooperation is always the first priority of the Global Ocean Observing Sytem.

Technically, GOOS is a global network of ships, buoys (fixed and drifting), subsurface floats, tide gauges and satellites that collect real time data on the physical state as well as the biogeochemical profile of the world's oceans. It comprises a measuring subsystem, a data and information management subsystem, and a subsystem for contributing to the production and diffusion of various kinds of products: measurements and forecasts of changes in water level, positions and strengths of currents, wave heights and forecasts of unusually high waves, sea ice measurements and coverage, rainfall measurements and forecasts (droughts and floods), maps and forecasts of harmful algal blooms, assessments of the vulnerability of fish stocks and farms, forecasts of likely weather- or climate-related disease.

For additional information, including activities in different regions :

  • Caribbean GOOS. Strategic Plan for GOOS in the Caribbean and Adjacent Region, developed by an ad-hoc advisory group set up in 2000 under the aegis of GOOS and the IOC Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Region (IOCARIBE).
  • Coastal GOOS Initiatives in the Indian Ocean. Includes integrated design plan of the Coastal Module of GOOS.
  • Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC). International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) core project responsible for understanding how global change will affect the abundance, diversity and productivity of marine populations. Cosponsored by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the IOC.
  • Indian Ocean GOOS. Formally established on 5 November 2002, when 19 organizations from 10 countries agreed to work together for the implementation of GOOS in the Indian Ocean and for promoting operational oceanography in the region.
  • Ocean Portal. Directory of ocean data and information related web sites. Contains more than 4,000 URLs.
  • Pacific Islands GOOS. Established in 1998, with update on recent and future activities summarized in report of most recent meeting of the Pacific GOOS Steering Committee.
  • UN Atlas of the Oceans. Internet portal developed by a group of UN agencies (under the lead of FAO), containing a wealth of information on oceans. There are four main entry points (About the Oceans, Uses, Issues, Geography), with ‘Climate variability and climate change’ among the issues addressed.
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