Genesis of global observing network for ocean
The foundations for an international initiative to collate and
interpret ocean acidification and its effects have now been
established, through a workshop hosted by the University of
Washington, Seattle (26-28 June 2012).
Assessment of the importance of ocean acidification for
organisms, ecosystems and ecosystem services needs observational
data on the changes taking place around the world. Making the
measurements is only the first step: a structured system is
needed to initially ensure their quality and comparability, and
then to synthesise the data in order to derive information and
Sponsors of the Seattle workshop included the US National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the International
Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP) and the Global Ocean
Observing System (GOOS). The initiative also has close links to the
newly-announced International Coordination Centre for Ocean
Acidification (OA-ICC), to be based in Monaco, and the Ocean
Acidification Working Group of the Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere
Study (SOLAS) and the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and
Ecosystem Research (IMBER) programme.
Such distinguished parentage is important: it not only gave the
workshop scientific and political credibility, but also enabled it
to build on existing relevant measurements and data synthesis
systems (e.g. the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas, SOCAT).
Duplication of effort is thereby avoided, and added value maximised
– both key concerns of funding agencies.
Major outcomes from the Seattle workshop comprised a mission
statement for the nascent network; identification of standardised
measurements (at different priority levels) and potential data
products; collation of information of existing and planned
relevant observing activities (fixed stations, research ships and
ships of opportunity); and discussion on gaps and how they might be
filled. An interactive map of the current and planned OA
observations is in preparation. Its current status is online
together with other background information on the workshop.
A Nature News article on the workshop is online at
full scientific report is expected to be available for wider
community discussion at the Ocean in a High CO2 World
conference in Monterey in September 2012.
Over sixty participants from 22 countries attended the Seattle
workshop. UK representatives were from Cefas (David Pearce),
Plymouth Marine Laboratory (Helen Findlay, Steve Widdicombe) and
UEA (Ute Schuster, Phil Williamson). Phil Williamson has been asked
to join a small Steering Group to take forward the further planning
and implementation of this initiative.