OceanObs’09 Conference Statement Draft

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This draft of the Conference Statement has been written by the Organizing Committee. We are very interested in your comments. You may leave them here in the public forum, or if you wish you may e-mail them to a .dot. fischer .at. unesco .dot. org.

Note please the comments left here after the deadline of 12:00 on 24 September could not be incorporated into the pre-negotiation version of the Conference Statement. Please pass your comments on to a session chair.

15 open review comments to “OceanObs’09 Conference Statement Draft”

  1. Ad Stoffelen says:

    I’d be happy to underwrite this global vision and declaration, but suggest a few changes on page 1:
    1) “that earth system information requires rapid access by all parties” -> “that all parties require rapid access”
    2) “Whenever possible observations are openly shared in near-real-time” -> “A considerable effort is made to openly share observations in near-real-time” (I heard too many excuses for not doing so)
    3) “and with all metadata needed to produce climate quality in post-quality-control observations” -> “and provided to users with all metadata needed to produce high-quality climate records, including quality control information”
    on page 2 bottom:
    4) “otherwise” -> “other protection legislation” which would then require “other observables for law reinforcement” (think of, e.g., oil spill detection)

    Dimitris Menemenlis Reply:

    I am very happy to see open-process and open-access principles for data collection and sharing included in the draft Conference Statement and support any rewording that strenghtens these statements.

  2. Jack Barth (Oregon State Univ) says:

    I suggest that in the 2nd par under “Framework for Development” that we say “… making use of remote sensing and in-situ observations” rather than “satellite” because there are other forms of useful remote sensing (land-based coastal radar for currents, airplane based systems, etc.).

    Also, since we are entirely dependent on satellite-based communications for returning in situ data from all over the globe (for example, Argos for Argo and Iridium for glider data), I wonder if we might add a statement in support of maintaining and expanding this vital satellite communications link?

    Minor wording change suggestions:
    – in 5th par under “Imperatives for Action”: “… decisions depend on timely and accurate information about the ocean’s biogeochemistry and ecosystems …”
    – in 6th par under “Imperatives: “… the protection of marine species …”

    Stefan Rösner (German GCOS Coordinator) Reply:

    I strongly support to distinguish between principles how observations are being made, i.e. remote or in-situ, and NOT between satellites and non-satellite.


  3. Stephan Bakan (MPI-M Hamburg) says:

    Comment: Despite all the successfully demonstrated data measurement principles and examples, we should not forget the remaining issues with some and the potential for further improvement and new developments. This calls also for a sustained support of research efforts to continually improve existing and develop more advanced measurement techniques and capacities. This should show up at some point also in the conference statement.

  4. Howard Freeland says:

    I do not like the phrase used to describe the accessibility of data. It presently reads “Whenever possible observations are openly shared in near-real-time”. So who will determine what is possible? Supposing I say that it is not possible for me to release Canadian Argo data yet because I need 2 years to write that great paper that will get me a promotion? Do I determine that this is how “possible” is to be determined? I would argue no.

    We need to eliminate the weasel-word, perhaps use the same statement but qualify it saying that “Whenever possible” means “always”, unless there are significant operational restrictions such as delay in the PI having access to the data. What I have in mind is that you cannot release current meter data until someone retrieves the current meter and reads the data file. After that data should be released immediately, always. I’d want to accept nothing less than equal access for the PI and everyone else on the planet.

  5. Great and useful effort. But I would not dislike, somewhere, an explicit mention of the importance of the coastal zone, where the impact on society is maximum - I notice coast/coastal only appear once in the whole document. I think there is a crucial need of ensuring a seamless transition between open-ocean and coastal observing systems. I think a practical goal is to improve our understanding (and therefore modelling and forecasting capabilities) on how the large scale changes impact on the regional and local processes - i.e. those processes that most of the ‘end-users’ are really interested in at the end of the day!!

  6. Zaharia says:

    About data sharing/ data availability.
    May remarks about the drawbacks of present int’l agreements (such as law of the sea), have already been made.

    There are large projects funded by international agencies or programs that do not necessarily carry the requirement for data sharing. This situation may be corrected by spreading the following word to int’l bodies (like the GEF / Worldbank):

    The “reversal of the paradigm”… (as it was put forward to research proponents: PI’s & Co_I’s, in Saint Raphael 10 years ago):

    From now on, the funding agencies will no longer fund projects that do not accept data sharing as a “2 ways avenue”… In other words, countries which oppose the dissemination of physical or BGC measurements should not be eligible for such int’l funding.

    NB These are a personal views: may or may not be supported by Le Club de Argonautes ! (I don’t know either if this is the right place to put these ideas/comments.)

  7. Zaharia says:

    About engaging new users communities:
    The 3rd ICOE (Int’ Conference on Ocean Energy) will take place in Bilbao in oct 2010 see:

    It would be desirable to organize a joint session in Bilbao dedicated to creating mutual awareness between the new questions that may be raised by industrial companies (considering to invest in harnessing Ocean energies), and new capabilities of emerging Operational Oceanography (OP_OC).

    There are mainly 2 areas where OP-OC may find new users:

    - Characterisation, and time / space variability, of the natural ressource to be exploited,

    - Evaluation/ forecast of potential environemental impacts of such considered ocean energy industrial exploitation.

    NB These are a personal views: may or may not be supported by Le Club de Argonautes ! (I don’t know either if this is the right place to put these ideas/comments.)

  8. Zaharia says:

    About R & D funding /sustaining of time series:

    Even though we are in the process of transitioning the on-going monitoring of the “main engines” of the climate system… from R & D to operational, I believe that there are still many valuable time series whose sustainabilty is dependent upon Research Funding… As you know, their eligibility may rely upon a criterion such as “Originality and scientific merit of the proposal” (it is very easy to perform a “bad assessment”… based on the fact that such experiment has already been made for many years !)

    I suggest that every proposal dealing with an ECV monitoring and nevertheless… rejected by research funding bodies, (this may still happen!), should be given a “second chance” ! In Europe, the GMES Marine Core Service could be a possible framework for setting up such a back up arrangement for ocean time series.

    NB These are a personal views: may or may not be supported by Le Club de Argonautes ! (I don’t know either if this is the right place to put these ideas/comments.)

  9. Shawn Smith, Steve Worley says:

    The conference statement needs to emphasize the need to capitalize on existing data streams and already deployed technology. Several speakers have noted that we have a variety of data sets (e.g., volumes of satellite data) and existing technology (wide range of shipboard and other ocean sensors) from which we can glean a great deal of scientific information simply by providing adequate resources to analyze and manage these observations.

    For AC1 - simply sustaining the current systems is not enough. Much more information exist than is used and readily available for science. This point to consistent decrease in funding to organize archives, build access via web interfaces and services, and sustain expert data stewardship and preservation.
    We should not only sustain what we have, but look for ways to increase effectiveness at the user access end of the ocean data pipeline.

    For AC4 - We need to strengthen the statement to include the need to provide training of personnel with expertise in both the ocean sciences and the technical skills to make observations and manage these data.

  10. I have the following points:

    Under [framework for development]: in the sentence “Whenever possible observations are openly shared in near-real-time”: remove “whenever possible” as this leaves too big a way out.
    next sentence: I suggest “They need to be collected to internationally agreed standards with agreed best practices…”

    In “Many groups have roles to play to sustain and develop the ocean observing system” could you add “The IOC’s International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme promotes the quality control, development of standards and best practices, long-term secure archival and free and open exchange of oceanographic data”.

    Under [imperatives for action] I would add a BECAUSE that stresses te importance of equitable participation of all nations (this then links better to the capacity building AC4)

    I would also suggest we include a stronger call for sharing of data. Both IOC and WMO have data policies which their Member States/Members have adopted but the principles of these policies have not always trickled down to the institutional and individual level, nor are they enforced at the national, institutional or individual level.

    Similarly all members of the community should create and provide quality metadata. It’s a hard job doing it but we heard throughout the conference that without metadata we really get into problems.

  11. Zaharia says:

    About Capacity Building

    Having been involved 4 years ago in the setting up & management of a CB Workshop (see
    http://cobrawo.mediasfrance.org/programme ), I would like to submit the following :

    Almost each and every organisation tends to have its own CB activity…

    This may result in dispersion and duplication of efforts, and limited efficiency, (in particular because the ressources devoted to this task by each organisation may be scarce).

    Networking, mutualization of experience, and sharing of lessons learnt up to now may result in issuing general guidance and suggested content for a typical CB program.

    (This could be a way to demonstrate that… “Operational Oceanography is no longer an… oxymoron !” CB being in itself a most required contribution… to such proof !)

    Every CB workshop should be supported by more agencies & int’l funding bodies than it’s now the case, so as to be a bigger event, (”above the critical size”… allowing improved efficiency).

    Illustration of the necessity, and advantages, of data sharing, (based, inter alia, on the evidence that no single country can perform all the observations required…), should be a an integral part of such typical CB program and general guidance.

    NB These are a personal views: may or may not be supported by Le Club de Argonautes ! (I don’t know either if this is the right place to put these ideas/comments.)

  12. Zaharia says:

    About the Conference statement submitted on Friday morning. (sept 25)

    It seems to me that some general statements may be missing :

    a) smthg like that: No single country may perform all the OceanObs which are necessary (The example given , more than a century ago, by the worldwide meteorological community should perhaps be recalled).

    b) The more countries will be engaged in performing OceanObs… the more resilient GOOS will be ! To this end, Capacity Building is indeed a way of having more countries involved, but it seems to me it should be extended to Outreach and to raising public awareness on the fact that:

    Sustained Ocean observations is an Unknown Critical public Infrastructure ! (a kind of … SOUCI !)

    Incidentally, this category of tasks, (Capacity Building, Outreach, and raising public awareness), should also be included in the integrated approach : networking, sharing of experience, and common endeavours should also become a vital step forward to gain sustainability thru increased public support.

    NB These are a personal views: may or may not be supported by Le Club de Argonautes ! (I don’t know either if this is the right place to put these ideas/comments.)