Ocean Observations


Click here for an introductory overview video.

Ocean observations are necessary, and should be maintained into the indefinite future so that we can detect and quantify any changes that might occur in its biogeochemistry, ecosystem or physical dynamics. Fundamental to this is the need for reliable ocean observations. It is the function of POGO to be an advocate, in the broadest sense, for such observations and to communicate their value to society-at-large.

At this crucial stage, scientists worldwide are working towards the establishment of a comprehensive network of observational instruments that will criss-cross the world’s oceans. As ocean science advances and moves more towards operational science, nations around the globe need to invest in a continuous integrated ocean observing system to make this vision a reality. Only through the development of a more comprehensive observing system can scientists provide reliable information and advice to policy makers to maintain and sustain human life as we know it.


Since its conception POGO has strived to forge networks around the world to promote long-term cooperation in global ocean observations. POGO has compiled a list of time-series stations that provide on-line data (many of which are members of OceanSITES). To meet this goal, POGO set up the consortium of organisations known as Oceans United, which brings together 21 organisations and programmes interested in ocean observations.  


Unfortunately some nations do not have the capacity to make the detailed ocean observations that we need, and for vast stretches of coastal margins lying in the developing world we are limited by a lack of trained personnel. An enabling mechanism is needed through which coastal states in the developing world can establish the knowledge base for responsible stewardship of their patrimony. POGO is helping to make this a reality, through its education and training programmes.

A major focus of POGO and Oceans United, and contribution to the agenda of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is the observation of the oceans for societal benefit. "Oceans and Society: Blue Planet" (Blue Planet) is the over-arching Marine Task within GEO. GEO is an intergovernmental body dedicated to the effective use of Earth observation (in situ or via remote sensing) for societal benefit. The creation of the Blue Planet Task was an initiative of POGO in 2011, to bring together all the existing ocean observation programmes within GEO, to add new ones to the GEO portfolio, and to create synergies between them. Blue Planet brings together many ocean observation programmes with a societal benefit angle.


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