What is GOOS ?


Background to GOOS

GOOS ( Global Ocean Observing System) grew out of the vision that understanding and forecasting climate change would require the existence of an ocean observing system akin to the WMO's World Weather Watch system underpinning weather forecasting. Since then the vision of GOOS has grown to encompass all aspects of ocean management as well as climate change.

GOOS is now conceived of as an internationally organised system for the gathering, co-ordination, quality control and distribution of many types of marine and oceanographic data and derived products of common world-wide importance and utility, as defined by the requirements of the broadest possible spectrum of user groups.

GOOS Structure

GOOS is administered by three executive bodies with inter-relationships:

•  The IOC WMO UNEP Committee for GOOS (I-GOOS) - a committee of IOC with participants delegated by the Member States of the intergovernmental sponsors who intend to support and participate in GOOS. It takes broad responsibility for representing the interests of the participant countries and potential beneficiaries of ocean observing systems and the users of marine observing information and products.

•  The GOOS Steering Committee (GSC) - a scientific and technical committee, which is composed of nominated experts in the relevant disciplines of marine science and global observation.

•  The GOOS Project Office (GPO) - the executive office for the GOOS organisation and part of the secretariat of IOC, which provides the Director and core staff, supplemented by seconded staff from participating countries.

The GOOS Initial Observing System

The GOOS Initial Observing System (GOOS-IOS) is the nucleus on which GOOS will grow. The practical implementation of GOOS began in 1998 with the creation of the GOOS-IOS from a number of pre-existing observing systems. Some of these are exclusively contributions to GOOS; others evolved for different purposes, but also address, are compatible with, and satisfy GOOS requirements. Although the implementation of GOOS through the GOOS-IOS has begun by exploiting existing systems, it is expected that the existing systems will be adapted to meet the design requirements.

New components will be added as appropriate and in accordance with GOOS designs.


Modus Operandi

GOOS Report No.41 has been formulated to guide the decisions and actions of its internal organisations and its external participants.

A key application of GOOS is serving the needs for global climate prediction. It was intended from the outset that GOOS should be 'expandable' to any purpose for which internationally co-ordinated marine observations are a prerequisite. There are a number of stages in the process:

•  The spectrum of conceivable end-use must be matched with types of observation that are technically achievable

•  The observational systems that would be required to deliver useful data and products for known or definable end purpose can then be designed in general terms

•  Observations common to different purposes or with special purposes can be grouped and evaluated according to feasibility and cost

•  Priorities for implementation can be set in terms of feasibility, cost, deliverable outcome and potential benefit •  Questions of practical implementation are addressed in the context of national and international programmes and enhancements

In the development of GOOS these processes are merged in scientific designs generated by the specialist groups and advisory panels under the review and direction of the GSC, and in the strategic and implementation plans that derive from these designs or which are developed at the regional level by regional GOOS entities like EuroGOOS or the US IOOS. To ensure conformity and complement with other global observing initiatives there is a high level of cross-representation between the membership of the GOOS panels and their counterparts.

A one-day stakeholders' meeting to ascertain the needs of local user communities usually preceded the meetings of the Coastal GOOS and Living Marine Resources Panels. The Coastal Ocean Observations Panel (COOP) is continuing this practice.


Regional and National Development of GOOS and Capacity Building
The GOOS Project Office has worked with the GOOS Capacity Building Panel and with Member States to aid the development of regional GOOS bodies in areas where many states share common sea-related problems.

These areas include the Caribbean (IOCARIBE-GOOS), Mediterranean (MedGOOS), Pacific islands (PacificGOOS), northeast Asian seas (NEAR-COOS), and the Black Sea (Black Sea GOOS). GOOS developments in European Seas are the province of the EuroGOOS Association, and focus on the development of the Baltic Operational Oceanographic System (BOOS), and the Northwest Shelf Operational Oceanographic System (NOOS), with Mediterranean interests being handled jointly with MedGOOS. Work continues on the possibilities for the development of GOOS in southeast Asia (SEA- GOOS), in the Indian Ocean (IO-GOOS), and around Africa (GOOS-AFRICA).