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pdf SCAR XXXI IP26: The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS)

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XXXI SCAR Delegates Meeting
9-11 August 2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina

SCAR XXXI IP26: The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS)

Information Paper 26
Agenda Item: 5.3
Person Responsible: Sparrow

Executive Summary

Title: The Southern Ocean Observing System

Authors: Mike Sparrow (Steve Rintoul, Colin Summerhayes, Mike Meredith, Eileen Hofmann, Kevin Speer, Ed Urban, Victoria Wadley – co-editors of SOOS plan)

Relevant URLs or references to other reports: The full Southern Ocean Observing System will be put on the SCAR website for consultation after the Delegates Meeting. The draft is now available at

Introduction/ Background: The Southern Ocean plays unique and critical roles for both the physical Earth system and its overall ecology, by both driving global weather and climate and harbouring unique and diverse biological communities. The development of a Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) meets the initial requirements of ATCM Resolution 3 (2007), which welcomed and supported “the proposal by SCAR to establish a multi-disciplinary pan-Antarctic observing system, which will, in collaboration with others, coordinate long-term monitoring and sustained observation in the Antarctic”. It is one of the key recommendations from the Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment Report (Turner et al., 2009). The SOOS is also a significant legacy of the recent International Polar Year.

Recommendations/Actions and Justification: Recommended Action: Secretariat will circulate to Nat Coms and Delegates copy of the latest version of the full SOOS plan for comment as part of the overall consultation process; comments to be received no later than the 1st of October.

Expected Benefits/Outcomes:  Improved coordination of Southern Ocean interdisciplinary observations in the Southern Ocean region, including a more efficient use of available resources.

Partners: The design of a SOOS was led by a partnership of organisations: SCAR, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), The Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML), the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Partnership for Observations of the Global Ocean (POGO). Other groups such as IAATO and COMNAP have provided significant feedback. The US NOAA programme also provided funds for holding SOOS workshops to further the SOOS design plan.

Budget Implications: Continuation of the SCAR/SCOR Oceanography Expert Group. $3000 towards hard copy publication of final version of report.