POGO-5 Press Release | POGO

POGO-5 Press Release

Press Release -- November 18, 2003

Leaders from a dozen countries, representing the world’s largest and most important oceanographic institutions and ocean research programmes, are meeting this week in Yokohama, Japan. The meeting is hosted by Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC).

These leaders of ocean science are members of the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO), a non-governmental consortium established in 1999 to promote long-term cooperation in comprehensive understanding and observation of the global oceans.

At this conference, POGO leaders have forged a strong, global commitment to the implementation of the ocean component of an Earth Observation System during the next ten years. To accomplish this global effort, POGO members have created and endorsed a “Yokohama Declaration” to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to increase major observations of the global oceans.

More than 71% of the planet is covered by oceans and these oceans are vital to the survival of all life on Earth. It is crucial – now more than ever – to implement an earth system approach, linking the oceans, land, life and atmosphere. As a coordinated organization, POGO has the capacity to implement long-term sustained observations of the oceans that will benefit the oceans and mankind.

Critical needs focus on observations within water, such as measurements from an armada of undulating probes deployed all over the world, measuring various physical and other properties of the oceans such as temperature and salt content. Another type of observation envisaged is a network of observatories situated at critical points around the world oceans, which would measure a comprehensive suite of physical, chemical, biological and geological properties of the water at the bottom of the ocean, and within the entire water column. These in-water observations are seen as complementary tools to ocean observations made globally through man-made satellites in space capable of observing several physical and biological properties of the oceans at the global scale. Since satellite capabilities are typically limited to observing only the surface layers of the oceans, and since they are not able to measure all the critical properties, the leaders of oceanography at the Yokohama meeting are convinced that both remote sensing by satellites and in-water measurements are necessary to complete the observing system. These observations will serve the need for data for various computer models that are designed for understanding and predicting the state of the oceans in the future. Such models are also designed to serve a variety of practical applications, ranging from understanding the role of the oceans in climate change, prediction of long-term climate and extreme weather events, and management of living resources from the sea.

POGO members are committed to implementing a comprehensive system for observing the oceans at the global scale, effective immediately. With the strong endorsement of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, POGO has created essential links with many national and international organizations dealing with marine science. The leaders of POGO plan to carry their message to the meeting of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) in Baveno, Italy, later this month. This group was created as a result of the G8 Declaration in Evian, France, last summer to implement an Earth Observation System over the next 10 years. Many countries in addition to the G8 nations have joined GEO, thus declaring their commitment to the goal.

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