#04 2022

CLIVAR-GOOS workshop: From global to coastal – cultivating new solutions and partnerships for an enhanced ocean observing system

By Juliet Hermes and Jennifer Veitch, Egagasini Node, NRF-SAEON

In order to meet growing societal and scientific demand for climate information, forecasting and prediction, the ocean observing community, CLIVAR, Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and partners recently conducted major reviews of several regional ocean observing systems (including IndOOS-2, TPOS2020, TAOS).  

Prof Juliet Hermes, manager of the Egagasini Node, was involved in the IndOOS-2 review, both from her scientific perspective and now in terms of implementing IndOOS2 through her role as co-chair of the CLIVAR Indian Ocean Regional Panel. Dr Jennifer Veitch, as a member, was invited to represent the CLIVAR Atlantic Ocean Regional Panel and to talk on SAEON’s SOMISANA modelling initiative.

Through these reviews, communities are recognising the overarching need for the expansion of long-term observations into the coastal zone where humans interact with the ocean, and multidisciplinary observing systems that better track oxygen minimum zones, the carbon cycle and productivity. The implementation and enhancement of each regional observing system is met with similar challenges, including identifying drivers, optimising design, funding expansion, developing new resources, testing new platforms and sensors, building partnerships with rim nations, capacity building and data sharing.

Participants in the CLIVAR-GOOS workshop conducted major reviews of several regional ocean observing systems (Photo courtesy of CLIVAR) 

Towards a global perspective 

Bringing the various panels together, with an emphasis on participation of developing nation scientists, allows an exchange of problems, ideas and solutions, enriching the efforts of each and adding up to a global perspective worth more than the sum of its parts.

The discussions focused on:

  • highlighting the most important societal and scientific drivers of each of the regional basin-wide observing systems.
  • perspectives of developing countries about their scientific and societal drivers for coastal ocean observing and how their needs may interface with the regional ocean observing systems and their products.
  • challenges, processes and outcomes of reviewing and designing the regional observing systems for the next decade. For example, (i) the transition to more multidisciplinary observing systems (and panel memberships), (ii) the need for regional-scale forecasting and expansion into the coastal zone, (iii) lobbying for resources, capacity-building and developing partnerships, and (iv) data archiving, assemblage and sharing.
  • how our efforts and priorities combine and how the panels can prepare together for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021–2030.

The main recommendations arising from the workshop came out of three discussion groups: improved communication, new technologies and connecting oceanographers.

Improved communication  

To better meet the need of end-users, mechanisms for improved communication between the ocean observing scientists with end-users, policy-makers and stakeholders (including coastal indigenous communities) were proposed. These included hosting a townhall or panel discussion at a wide-reaching conference with the intention of exploring existing communication channels (e.g. through the Indian Ocean Commission, World Meteorological Organization, Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean, and CLIVAR).

Workshops on how to improve science communication in the media and to inform policy were also suggested, as was the need to explore how meaningful partnerships with indigenous communities could be fostered.

New technologies  

This group highlighted the need for instrument developers to be involved in meetings and workshops with researchers so that they are better able to understand the requirements of the research community. They suggested a community support forum to support the use of various technologies by researchers. This would have the added benefit of researchers engaging more actively with manufacturing to refine instrument performance and observing capacity and, indeed, data delivery.  

Connecting oceanographers  

This group focused on the development of a mentee-mentor programme, hosted on a web and app interface, that would facilitate new and productive relationships that build understanding, capacity and equity in ocean observing, ocean science and technology, and ocean forecasting.

The aim of this workshop was to provide tangible outcomes to CLIVAR and GOOS which could help advance sustainable, co-designed ocean and coastal observing systems. With the outcomes put forward we hope to be able to identify champions to move the recommendations forward and to find funding with the support of CLIVAR/GOOS. This will reach many national governments through their International Oceanographic Commission focal points.