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SCAR XXXIII WP18: The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS)
XXXIII SCAR Delegates Meeting
1 - 3 September 2014, Auckland, New Zealand

SCAR XXXIII WP18: The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS)

Working Paper: 18
Agenda Item: 4.4.3
Posted/Revised: 24 Jul 2014
Person Responsible: Louise Newman

Executive Summary

Title: The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS)

Authors: Louise Newman, Oscar Schofield, Anna Wåhlin, Andrew Constable, Sebastiaan Swart

Introduction/ Background: The Southern Ocean influences climate, sea level, biogeochemical cycles and biological productivity on a global scale. Many of the most difficult and pressing issues faced by society—how to mitigate and adapt to climate change and sea-level rise, how to manage the effects of ocean acidification, and how best to conserve marine resources and biodiversity—cannot be addressed effectively without improved understanding of Southern Ocean processes and feedbacks and their sensitivity to change. The most urgent research challenges in the Southern Ocean often span traditionally separate scientific disciplines. The Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) provides the sustained, integrated, multi-disciplinary observations required to meet these challenges.

Important Issues or Factors:

  1. In 2014, SOOS elected a new Co-Chair (Anna Wåhlin, Sweden) to replace Mike Meredith (UK), and also elected two Vice-Chairs (Sebastiaan Swart (S. Africa), Andrew Constable (Australia).
  2. The governance and structure of SOOS, and role of the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) will be modified to support greater implementation capabilities
  3. The International Project Office (hosted by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, (IMAS UTas) Australia) only has funding secured for another 2 years. Discussions are taking place to ensure continuation of this support. Currently, only New Zealand and Australia provide support for the IPO. SOOS will need to secure greater international support for the IPO to justify continuation of hosting.
  4. The 2015 SSC meeting will take place in Hobart, Australia, hosted by IMAS UTas. Date and level of host support TBA.
  5. SOOS will be holding its inaugural Open Science Conference (OSC) alongside the SSC meeting in Hobart in 2015. It is intended that this event will be fully international and will highlight past, current and planned SOOS-related activities (strategic and field). Funding for this conference will be sought through a number of avenues.

Recommendations/Actions and Justification:

  1. SCAR provides financial support for the annual SSC meeting. This support is imperative to ensure participation of all of the international SSC members. SOOS greatly appreciates the support provided by SCAR, and requests that this support is continued for 2015.
  2. Although planning is at the early stages, SCAR will be invited to sponsor the planned SOOS OSC. SOOS requests that the delegates consider the merit of such sponsorship.

Expected Benefits/Outcomes:

  1. Continuation of the support for the SSC meeting will ensure participation by all SSC members, which is imperative for planning and implementation of SOOS objectives.
  2. SCAR sponsorship of the SOOS OSC is likely to either be used to provide travel support for participants, or will be used to reduce the running cost of the conference so that registration fees can be kept to a minimum.


  1. SCOR provides 10,000 USD towards the annual SOOS SSC meeting. Discussions will be had with the 2015 SSC meeting host, IMAS, regarding a level of host support for this meeting.
  2. Additional sponsorship and support for the SOOS OSC will be sought over the coming year.

Budget Implications:

  1. 10,000 USD are requested to support the 2014 SSC meeting.
  2. SOOS cannot suggest a level of sponsorship for the SOOS OSC at this time. The decision to hold an OSC was made only 1 week ago and time is required to develop a budget for the conference. It is expected that the SOOS Executive Officer will communicate with the SCAR Secretariat on this matter in the coming months.