What is the Vision for an All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System?

Internationally, ocean observation has primarily been coordinated through the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) – cosponsored by IOC-UNESCO, WMO, UNEP, and ISC – and the Blue Planet initiative of GEO supported by numerous other national and international programs and projects. GOOS and GEO are closely linked with GOOS being responsible for contributing the sustained ocean observations to the Blue Planet initiative of GEO.  GOOS and its partners are working to develop and implement effective ocean observing capacities and trying to manage and if possible minimize the complexity of the current observing systems. In 1999 and 2009, the global ocean observing community came together at the OceanObs conferences to share and articulate their ambition for integrated ocean observing. The next OceanObs meeting is planned for fall 2019 on Hawaii. New demands and expectations offer opportunities to assess how we are conducting ocean observing and provide fresh approaches.

The overarching goal of the strategy developed in the AtlantOS Vision is to facilitate a more sustainable, coordinated and comprehensive ocean observing system delivering relevant ocean information for a wide range of societal benefit areas spanning ocean change, near-real-time ocean state estimation, ocean prediction and base-line information to support sustainable ocean use. The Vision  an All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System goes beyond the state-of–the-art and provide a vision for the Atlantic Ocean observing in the next decade.  It integrates existing ocean observing activities into a sustainable, efficient, and fit-for-purpose system. The observing system should be ambitious, multi-national, multi-sectoral and purposeful but not prescriptive. It includes capacity development and emphasizes the role of resource mobilization for observations of the entire Atlantic Ocean.  The system will support and enhance new partnerships between science, services, private sector and civil society.

The present AtlantOS Vision White Paper and associated documents will likely be followed by a an implementation document that offers a pathway to build the proposed All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System. The discussion of implementation will begin with release of the Vision White Paper at the First International AtlantOS Symposium held in Paris 25-28 March.  Further community consultation and discussion at international meetings such as OceanObs’19 in Hawai’i will guide the development of the implementation plan.