Published in the
Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society

COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.35

The Ship of Opportunity Program

G. Goni(1), Dean Roemmich(2), Robert Molinari(3), Gary Meyers(4), Charles Sun(5), Tim Boyer(5), Molly Baringer(1), Viktor Gouretski(6), Pedro DiNezio(7), Franco Reseghetti(8), Gopalakrishna Vissa(9), Sebastiaan Swart(10), Robert Keeley(11), S. Garzoli(1), Thomas Rossby(12), Christophe Maes(13), Gilles Reverdin(14)

pdf Download this paper »

The Ship Of Opportunity Program (SOOP) is an international World Meteorological Organization (WMO)-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) program that addresses both scientific and operational goals to contribute to building a sustained ocean observing system. The SOOP main mission is the collection of upper ocean temperature profiles using eXpendable BathyThermographs (XBTs), mostly from volunteer vessels. The XBT deployments are designated by their spatial and temporal sampling goals or modes of deployment (Low Density, Frequently Repeated, and High Density) and sample along well-observed transects, on either large or small spatial scales, or at special locations such as boundary currents and chokepoints, all of which are complementary to the Argo global broad scale array. A multi-national review of the global upper ocean thermal networks carried out in 1999 [1] and presented at the OceanObs'99 conference recommended evolving from broad-scale XBT sampling to increased spatial and temporal transect-based sampling anticipating the implementation of the Argo float network and continued satellite altimetry observations. The objective of the present manuscript is to review the present status of networks against the objectives set during OceanObs'99, to present key scientific contributions of XBT observations, and to offer new perspectives for the future of the XBT network. The commercial shipping industry has changed in the past decade, toward fewer routes and more frequent changes of ships and routing impacting the temporal continuity of some XBT transects. In spite of these changes, many routes now have, in addition to XBT sampling, measurements from ThermoSalinoGraphs (TSGs), eXpendable Conductivity Temperature and Depth (XCTD), partial pressure of CO2, Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), Continuous Plankton Recorders (CPR), marine meteorology, fluorescence, and radiometer sensors. In addition, recent studies of the XBT fall rate are being evaluated with the goal of optimizing the XBT historical record for climate research applications. The ongoing value of the Ship Of Opportunity networks is viewed through their extended time-series and their integrative relationships with other elements of the ocean observing system including, for example, profiling floats, satellite altimetry, and air-sea flux measurements. Improved capabilities in ocean data assimilation modeling and expansion to support large scale multidisciplinary research will further enhance value in the future.

1National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, 4301 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, USA
2University of California in San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 9500 Gilman Drive, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093 USA
3University of Miami, Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149 USA
4University of Tasmania, Private Bag 76, Hobart TAS, 7001, Australia
5National Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, National Oceanographic Data Center, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282 USA
6University of Hamburg, Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
7University of Miami, Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149
8ENEA (Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), Centro Ricerche Ambiente Marino, P.O. Box 224, Località Pozzuolo, Forte, Santa Teresa, I-19030 Lerici, (La Spezia) Italy
9National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula - 403 004, Goa, India
10University of Cape Town, Oceanography Department, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa 7701
11Integrated Science Data Management, 12th Fl 200 Kent St. Ottawa, ON. Canada. K1A 0E6
12University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, South Ferry Rd., Narragansett, RI O2882 USA
13Institut de Recherche pour le Développement/Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales - Noumea, B.P.A5- 98848 - Noumea Cedex - Nouvelle-Caledonie
14LOCEAN (Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et approches numériques), University of Paris VI, 4, place Jussieu 75252 PARIS Cedex 05. , France

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: gustavo.goni@noaa.gov

This paper shall be cited as:

Goni, G. & Co-Authors (2010). "The Ship of Opportunity Program" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.35

Rights to reproduction of individual articles are held by the authors. The source of the article (these proceedings) shall be cited.

 Contact: info .at. oceanobs09.net