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Session 2.1 Abstracts

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2.1 National and International Efforts for a Sustained Ocean Observing System

Session conveners: Ed Harrison, Mike Bell and Hui Wang

The table below lists all abstracts for Session 2.1 by author. To read the full abstract click on the title-link.

The unique reference number (ref. no.) relates to the abstract submission process and must be used in any communications with the organisers.

All abstracts from session 2.1 are available for download - pdf.

 Ref.NoPrimary AuthorAffiliationCountryAbstract titlePoster
S2.1-01Clark, CandyceNOAA, JCOMM ObservationsUnited StatesThe in situ Global Ocean Observing System - Coordination and Implementation Oral
S2.1-02Crise, AlessandroOGSItalyThe Italian RITMARE Ocean Observing SystemPoster-pdf
S2.1-03Cullen, RobertESANetherlandsThe Jason-CS Ocean Surface Topography Mission Payload Design, Development and Expected PerformancesPoster-pdf
S2.1-04Francis, RichardESANetherlandsThe Jason-CS ocean surface topography mission 
S2.1-05Freeland, HowardFisheries and Oceans CanadaCanadaThe Argo Program – what has it accomplished?Poster-pdf
S2.1-06Goni, GustavoNOAA/AOMLUnited StatesThe Global Expandable Bathythermograph Network 
S2.1-07Hill, KatyWorld Meteorological OrganisationSwitzerlandThe Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC): taking a systems approach to observing System design and assessmentPoster-pdf
S2.1-08Maturi, EileenNOAAUnited StatesNOAA/NESDIS Operational Geostationary and BlendedPoster-pdf
S2.1-09Moltmann, TimIMOSAustraliaAustralia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)Poster-pdf
S2.1-10Pavlis, ErricosGoddard Earth Science and Technology CenterUnited StatesImplementation of a Real-time Oceanographic Network for the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean Regions: ACTIONPoster-pdf
S2.1-11Welhena, ThisaraUniversity of Western AustraliaAustraliaUse of Shallow water gliders for monitoring the cross-shelf processes in South Western Australia 
S2.1-12Zhang, TianyuNMEFCChinaAn Overview of the Operational Marine Observing System in China 

ID 2.1-01

The in situ Global Ocean Observing System – Coordination and Implementation

C.Clark1 and the JCOMM Observations Coordination Group: A.Wallace2, M.McPhaden3, G.Ball4, S.North5, G.Goni6, G.Mitchum7, D.Roemmich8, S.Wijffels9, R.Weller10, U.Send11, B.Sloyan 12, C.Sabine13,T.Tanhua14,

1 NOAA/JCOMM Observations Coordination Group (OCG), Silver Spring, USA; 2Environment Canada, Vanouver, Canada; 3PMEL/NOAA, Seattle, USA; 4Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia; 5UKMet Office, Exeter, UK; 6AOML/NOAA, Miami, USA; 7FSU, St. Petersburg, USA; 8SIO, San Diego, USA; 9CSIRO, Hobarth, Australia; 10WHOI, Woods Hole, USA; 2SIO, San Diego, USA: 12CSIRO, Hobarth, Australia; 13PMEL/NOAA, Seattle, USA; 14GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany


At both Ocean Observations conferences in 1999 (St. Raphael) and 2009 (Venice) it was recognized that society did not have adequate information about the state of the world ocean or its regional variations to address a range of important societal needs, and the subsequent work by the marine carbon community and others in the ocean science and operational communities led to an agreed international plan that was described and updated in the GCOS Implementation Plan (GCOS-138, 2010). We here describe the efforts that have been made to reach these goals. Thanks to these efforts, most of the ice free ocean above 2000m is now being observed systematically for the first time, and a global repeat hydrographic survey and selected transport measurements supplement these networks.

The system is both integrated and composite. It depends upon satellite and in situ networks with observations of the same variable from different sensors. In this way optimum use is made of all available platforms and sensors to maximize coverage and attain maximum accuracy. Wherever feasible observations are transmitted in real time or near-real time because of the desirability to use every observation for as many purposes as possible, from short-term ocean forecasting to estimation of century-long trends. Because our historical knowledge of oceanic variability is limited, we are learning about the sampling requirements and needed accuracies as the system is implemented and exploited, and the system will evolve as technology and knowledge improve.

Key in situ networks are world-ocean coverage with surface drifting buoy and profiling float (Argo) array; basin-spanning repeat lines of XBTs and hydrographic/carbon/tracer observations; a handful of fully time-resolving moored reference sites, a global mooring array; coastal tide gauges that are geo-centric referenced, selected transport observations at key locations; and the highest quality observations of surface and near-surface variables from commercial and research ships. The progress in coordination and implementation of these arrays is described and the role of the WMO-IOC Joint Commission on Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) in these networks is described.

ID 2.1-02

The Italian RITMARE Ocean Observing System

A.Crise1,M.Caccia2,C.Fanara1, G.Manzella3,E.Mauri1,M.Ravaioli4,R.Santoleri5 ,M.Tonani6

1 OGS (Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale), Sgonico (TS), Italy

2 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche-ISSIA, Genua, Italy

3 ENEA-Centro Ricerche Ambiente Marino S. Teresa, S.Teresa(SP), Italy

4 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche-ISMAR, Genua, Italy

5 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche-ISAC, Rome, Italy

6 Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e di Vulcanologia, Bologna, Italy


RITMARE is the 80M€ three-years Italian Flagship Program for the advancement of the Science, Technology and Infrastructures in the marine and maritime sectors, started in 2012. Among the components of the program, the Sub-Project 5 (SP5) ‘Observing Systems’ will develop a state-of-art pilot implementation of the research network of marine observations by combining existing and novel real time in situ platforms, remote sensing observations, autonomous vehicles and coastal models. The basic pillars are to achieve sustained operation, continuity and interoperability of existing and new systems and to provide essential environmental observations and information to the RITMARE community and the Italian stakeholders (e.g. Italian environmental protection ISPRA institute, Italian Civil Protection, National Group for Operational Oceanography, etc.). This network will contribute to the implementation of the national observing system in the frame the EuroGOOS and MONGOOS GRAs, to a better Italian positioning in other pan-European efforts (GMES/Copernicus, EMODNET-PP, MyOCEAN2, JERICO coastal observatories, FIXO3 open ocean observatories). The design of the infrastructure aims to respond to requirements coming from the implementation of the European environmental Directives (WFD, MSFD, etc.).

SP5 aims at the consolidation, harmonization and development of an evolutionary prototype of the Ritmare OBservatories and Integrated Networks (ROBIN). This infrastructure includes a permanent component (mooring network, satellite images, HF radars, forecasting systems) that will secure the proper time and space coverage of observations in a specific geographical area, and a relocatable component (gliders, drifters, AUVs, on-demand relocatable equipment) that can be deployed in case of necessity or for specific purposes. A special emphasis is posed on the development, test and implementation of biogeochemical sensors. The advancements on coastal models architecture is an integral part of the observing system. Conversely, the operational activities run within the MONGOOS MFS forecasting system, that is goes in parallel with this program.

Within ROBIN the integration of the existing systems will be carried out at different levels (type of sensors, transmission protocols, QA/QC). The concept of observatory is central to the ROBIN design, as a space-and-time coherent set of observation covering different disciplines. The dissemination of the data will be obtained through the implementation of a multi-layer e-infrastructure based on official and de-facto standards, open to the connection with other marine research infrastructures (es. EuroARGO, SOOP). This would facilitate the access to, and use of, these observations and information in the perspective of GEO and GEOSS.

Many of the technological improvements can be achieved only through PPP. Special instruments are sought for a stronger engagement of the Italian technological districts and clusters.

ID 2.1-03

The Jason-CS Ocean Surface Topography Mission Payload Design, Development and Expected Performances

R. Cullen1 and R. Francis1

1 ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands


This paper describes the ocean surface topography Jason-CS (Continuity Service) mission in terms of its payload definition and expected performances.

Jason-CS will follow TOPEX/Poseidon (1992), Jason-1 (2001), the operational Jason-2 (2008) and will be succeeded by Jason-3 with a launch expected in 2015. Jason-CS will continue to fulfil the mission objectives of this successful series of missions with a change in design and capabilities that will provide the operational and science oceanographic communities with the state of the art in terms of platform, measurement instrumentation design and thus secure optimal operational and science data return.

The Jason-CS development, now undergoing its phase B2 study stage, is based on the CryoSat-2 platform, builds on the heritage of the Jason-2 and -3 payloads and those of CryoSat and Sentinel-3. The development brings together several organizations and agencies (ESA, EUMETSAT, NOAA, NASA-JPL, CNES and the European Commission). The consortium of agencies plan to procure two Jason-CS satellites, with the first of these, Jason-CS A, expected launch in 2019 and with the second, Jason-CS B, planned to ensure continuity of the long-term ocean surface topography climate data record until the late 2020’s.

Though based on a platform derived from CryoSat-2, Jason-CS is adjusted to the specific requirements of the ocean surface topography in the higher reference orbit. The principle payload instrument is a radar altimeter, Poseidon-4, with a number of design and performance improvements over predecessors.

Poseidon-4 is a normal incidence Ku and C band pulse-width limited radar altimeter with the capability of acquiring high rate measurements of the ocean surface allowing synthetic-aperture processing that improves along-track resolution and reduce range and Significant Wave Height (SWH) noise as a function of SWH. With improvements of the SAR method over pulse-width limited processing now demonstrated, simultaneous operation of SAR and pulse-width limited modes at the same time have been investigated for operations over all oceans. With this facility the reference mission will be secured operationally whilst providing science users with a unique reduced uncertainty global data set that maybe assimilated into operational modelling in time for the second mission; if not before.

Retrieval of the key geophysical parameters (surface elevation, SWH and wind speed) from the altimeter requires additional sources of information provided by support instruments. The wet-tropospheric correction to the altimeter data will be provided by the improved climate quality Advanced Microwave Radiometer (AMR-C) developed by NASA-JPL under NOAA funding and will provide data with higher stability than predecessors.

A recent addition to the payload, undergoing feasibility study, is the High Resolution Microwave Radiometer (HRMR). The instrument is being designed to complement the AMR-C retrievals and operate at several high frequency channels (between 80 and 190 GHz) in order to allow retrieval of the altimeter wet tropospheric correction closer to the coast that previously possible.

A DORIS receiver will provide data to enable precise orbit determination with orbit tracking data also provided by a GPS receiver and a Laser Reflector capability.

An additional GPS receiver (NOAA funded and developed by NASA-JPL) is being developed to provide additional radio-occultation measurements.

ID 2.1-04

The Jason-CS ocean surface topography mission

R. Francis1, F. Parisot2, S. Coutin-Faye3, P. Wilczynski4, P. Vaze5

1 ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

2 EUMETSAT, Darmstadt, Germany

3 CNES, Toulouse, France

4 NOAA, Silver Spring, USA

5 JPL, Pasadena, USA


The Jason-CS mission is conceived as the successor to the long standing series of missions dedicated to measurement of the ocean surface topography, starting with TOPEX-Poseidon in 1992, continuing up to Jason-2 in orbit, with Jason-3 due to be launched in 2015. This unbroken record will be continued up to at least 2030 with a pair of Jason-CS satellites. These missions operate from a relatively high altitude prograde orbit with an inclination of 66 degrees. The repeat period is 10 days, originally chosen to provide frequent observations along the ground-tracks, at a frequency selected to minimize the effects of tidal aliasing.

Jason-CS is built on the heritage of CryoSat. This ice mission was specifically designed to meet the requirements of altimetry measurements from a non sun-synchronous orbit, such as the Jason orbit. The payload complement needs to be enhanced to meet the needs of the Jason mission, which is regarded as a reference mission. This enhancement means the addition of a microwave radiometer and additional capabilities to determine the orbit precisely using a GNSS receiver. Some of these new payload instruments are produced by JPL and provided by NOAA, following on from the previous Jason missions.

Jason-CS will provide a new generation of measurement capability compared to the previous Jasons. It will use the SAR principle of CryoSat's SIRAL radar, but further enhanced to allow simultaneous SAR measurements and data collected in the more traditional pulse-width limited mode. The advantages of the SAR mode are principally an enhanced along-track resolution, significantly reduced measurement noise and freedom from an artifact in the signal spectrum, apparently introduced by the conventional measurement geometry, at spatial scales of 10 to 100 km.

To capitalise on this new high resolution altimetry, a new high-resolution microwave radiometer (operating at high frequencies) is now under study, to augment the standard radiometer. If this can be shown to be technically and programmatically feasible, it will be included in the payload. Finally, a Radio-Occultation payload is also being embarked to provide an operational atmospheric profiling service.

Continuing work on the Jason-CS mission was approved at the ESA Council at Ministerial Level, held in November 2012, and this will allow the work to reach the level, by mid-2014, where the implementation can start, subject to further approval. In parallel, the approval process in EUMETSAT and NOAA is underway, and the agreement on overall budget for the European Union paves the way for the final slice of funding. The first launch is expected in 2019.

ID 2.1-05

The Argo Program – what has it accomplished?

Howard Freeland1 and the Argo Steering Team2

1 Institute of Ocean Sciences, British Columbia, Canada

2 http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/members.html


The Argo Program began with a proposal that was taken, in 1998, to the CLIVAR Upper Ocean Panel and the GODAE Steering Team. There it received enthusiastic endorsement and the Argo Science Team was conceived. In the original proposal the fledgling Argo Steering Team outlined a plan that would have 3000 floats in the oceans of the world by 2007, supplying real-time data from a global array that occupied the oceans more-or-less evenly. Following initial deployments of regional arrays, global scale deployments of 800 floats per year and more began in 2004. The 3000-float array was achieved in late 2007 and the number of active floats has never since fallen below that target.

Simple statistics show Argo as a program with a strong history of achievement, thanks to the coordinated efforts of more than 30 nations. Argo achieved its first million profiles in November 2012 and presently is maintaining an array of almost 3500 instruments. This array is gathering profiles at the impressive rate of almost 12,000 per month, or, one profile every 3.7 minutes. In stark contrast to historical sampling, Argo is sampling the northern and southern hemispheres about equally and without significant seasonal bias.

The spatial coverage of Argo is not yet optimal. For example, in the deep southern ocean the sampling density falls substantially below the target and it is not at all obvious how this deficiency can be rectified. It is difficult to deploy floats in the deep southern ocean, due to the shortage of deployment opportunities south of 45°S, to increased regulatory burdens there, and to hazards presented by ice cover. Other presently under-sampled regions include marginal seas, and recent recommendations from OceanObs09 call for denser Argo sampling in western boundary regions and near the equator.

Argo is rapidly becoming a mainstay of observational physical oceanography with about 225 papers published per year in 2010, 11 and 12, which make substantial use of the Argo array. Basic research using Argo data covers an enormous range of topics and timescales, ranging from air-sea exchange in tropical cyclones, to mesoscale eddies, to seasonal and interannual fluctuations including ENSO, to decadal variations in ocean circulation and water mass formation, to global change on multi-decadal and centennial scale. The latter impact is especially evident in the recently-published IPCC AR5 and examples will be shown of the identification of large-scale salinity changes, the impact on ocean heat content estimates and its relation to sea-level change. Moreover, Argo is having a profound impact on capabilities in ocean data assimilation, as evidenced in many other presentations this week.

In summary, much has been achieved in the Argo Program, but much remains to be done. The international will to collaborate on deployments for the common good, releasing data in near real-time in a common data format, has been impressive. The challenges will be to maintain this will for the long term, to further improve data quality (especially delayed-mode quality control) and to achieve international consensus on deployment of Argo floats everywhere in the oceans.

ID 2.1-06

The Global Expendable Bathythermograph Network

1 Gustavo Goni, 2Dean Roemmich, 2Janet Sprintall, 3Susan Wijffels, 4Timothy Boyer, 2Nathalie Zimmerman, 3Rebecca Cowley, 3Ann Thresher, 1Molly Baringer, 5Mauricio Mata, 6Shoichi Kizu,7Gilles Reverdin, 8Sebastiaan Swart, 9Gopalakrishna Vissa, 10Franco Reseghetti, 11Thomas Rossby, 12Martin Kramp

1 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, AOML, Miami, FL, USA

2 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA

3 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Hobart, Australia

4 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NESDIS, Silver Spring, MD, USA

5 Federal University Rio Grande, Rio Grande, Brazil

6 Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

7 University of Paris, Paris, France

8 University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

9 National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India

10 Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Pozzuolo di Lerici, Italy

11 University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett, RI, USA

12 Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Paris, France


The global eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT) network addresses both scientific and operational goals that contribute to the building of a sustained ocean observing system. The main mission is the collection of upper ocean temperature profiles 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/High Resolution) and sample along repeated, scientifically important transects, on either large or small spatial scales, or at special locations such as boundary currents and chokepoints. Currently approximately 18,000 XBTs are deployed per year, of which 80% are performed along fixed transects, and representing around 15% of the global upper ocean thermal measurements. The XBT network currently provides the primary observing system for the global long-term monitoring of key boundary currents, and their temperature variability along fixed transects, and provides important assessments of meridional heat transports. Results and indexes obtained from these studies are key for model validation. In addition, the ongoing value of the XBT network is the extended time-series provided by many transects as well as the unique spatially repeated sampling available along High-Density transects.

Given the advances in the Argo program, the global XBT network is now focused on high resolution monitoring of fronts, eddies, boundary currents, and heat transport. The integrative relationship with other elements of the ocean observing system including, for example, profiling floats, satellite altimetry, air-sea flux measurements, pCO2 systems, global drifter program, etc. is also essential. Improved capabilities in ocean data assimilation and the expansion to support large scale multidisciplinary research will further enhance the value of the XBT network into the future. Recent studies of the XBT fall rate are being evaluated with the goal of optimizing the XBT historical record for climate research applications. In addition, technological enhancements in the XBT probes are being tested, including the use of pressure switches and improved thermal sensors to reduce depth and temperature biases.

Key results will be presented here on the current contribution of XBTs to scientific and operational uses. Multi-national reviews of the XBT network were carried out at the 1999 and 2009 OceanObs Conferences and readers are referred to the proceedings of these publications for complete information and bibliography about the XBT network.

ID 2.1-07

The Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC): taking a systems approach to observing System design and assessment

K.L. Hill1, Mark Bourassa2, Toshio Suga3,4,

1 Global Climate Observing System Secretariat, World Meteorological Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland

2 Florida State University, Talahassie, USA

3 Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

4 JAMSTEC, Yokosuka, Japan


Following on from the Oceanobs09 conference, the Framework for Ocean Observing (FOO)[1] will guide the development of the Global Ocean Observing System. The FOO advocates a variables approach to setting requirements for observing system design and assessment, with a strong focus on technology readiness. This enables the underlying technology to evolve while keeping the focus on the delivery of required data-streams.

OOPC are developing a work plan to work on the design and assessment of the sustained observing system for different regions/applications. The plan will focus on defining variables, scales and accuracy requirements for observations to inform the optimum suite of platforms to deliver those requirements. The figure below is an example showing the scales and accuracy requirements for observations of air sea fluxes to resolve different processes. The tropical Pacific and the deep ocean will be early priorities; examples of how the Framework can be applied to assess an existing observing system and design a new one.


Figure: Air Sea fluxes observations scale and accuracy requirements for high latitude applications[2].

The Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC) is sponsored by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the World Climate Research program. Its role is to set requirements for, and review implementation of, the sustained ocean observing system for climate. OOPC provides scientific advice to the Joint WMO-IOC technical commission on Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM).

[1] The Framework for Ocean Observing www.oceanobs.net/foo

[2] Bourassa et.al, 2013. High-latitude ocean and sea ice surface fluxes: challenges for climate research. Bull. Am. Met. Soc, 94, 403-423. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00244.1

ID 2.1-08

NOAA/NESDIS Operational Geostationary and Blended

Sea Surface Temperature Products

E.Maturi1, J.Sapper1, A.Harris2, J.Mittaz2, P.Koner2, B.Potash3, G.Rancic3

1 NOAA/NESDIS, College Park, U.S.A.

2 University of Maryland, College Park, U.S.A.

3 Science Systems and Applications Inc., College Park, U.S.A.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) office of the National Environmental Satellite Data and Services generates sea surface temperature (SST) retrievals on an operational basis from a suite of satellites. These satellites are the NOAA GOES-East and West, the European Meteosat Second Generation and the Japanese Multi-functional Transport. The SST retrieval methodology is based on a physical retrieval algorithm (Modified Total Least Squares) with an improved probabilistic Bayesian cloud masking methodology. Products from these satellites include gridded regional hourly and 3-hourly hemispheric imagery, and 24 hour merged composites. NOAA also provides GHRSST L2P products from each of these satellites. All the NOAA generated geostationary L2P products include diurnal warming estimates as part of their ancillary field.

Operational sea surface temperature retrievals from NOAA’s GOES and POES satellites are used to produce operational daily global 5km SST analyses for day/night and nighttime only in HDF5 and GHRSST L4 formats. These products are a critical component of NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch Program (a program with substantial international visibility), the Oceanic Heat Content Products for the N. Atlantic and Pacific Basins (used in Tropical Intensity Prediction), NOAA’s CoastWatch/OceanWatch users, and the NOAA/National Weather Service’s Ocean Prediction Center (high seas forecasts).

In May 2014, a diurnally corrected daily global 5km SST analysis for day/night and night time only will be available in HDF5 and GHRSST L4 formats. Then we plan to incorporate the NPP and the AMSR-2 sea surface temperatures into the daily global 5km SST analyses suite of products.

We have initiated a Reprocessing Geo-Polar SST analyses in support of the NOAA Coral Reef Watch Program. Both the 5km SST analyses for day/night and nighttime only will be reprocessed from September 2004 forward. These data sets will be available in September 2014.

ID 2.1-09

Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)

Tim Moltmann1, Roger Proctor1

1 Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), Hobart, Australia


Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) was established in 2007 as part of a Federal Government funded research infrastructure program. IMOS is designed to be a fully integrated national system of observing equipment to monitor the open oceans and coastal marine environment around Australia, covering physical, chemical and biological variables. All data is freely and openly available through the IMOS Ocean Portal for use by the marine and climate science community and its stakeholders (http://imos.aodn.org.au/imos/).

IMOS observations are guided by societal needs for improved ocean information, and focused through science planning undertaken collaboratively across the Australian marine and climate science community. All science plans have been internationally peer reviewed. There are five major research themes that unify IMOS science planning and related observations: multi-decadal ocean change, climate variability and weather extremes, major boundary currents and interbasin flows, continental shelf processes, and ecosystem responses.

Platforms utilized for sustained ocean observation in IMOS include Argo profiling floats, autonomous gliders, ships of opportunity, shelf and deep water moorings, coastal radar systems, autonomous underwater vehicles, wireless sensor networks, satellite and acoustic tagging and monitoring systems for fish and mammals, and satellite remote sensing (SST, Ocean Colour and Altimetry). Observations of ocean surface currents and temperature are mapped on a daily basis and delivered through the IMOS OceanCurrent website (http://oceancurrent.imos.org.au/).

Components of the system are operated by publicly funded research agencies, operational agencies (such as the Australian Bureau of Meteorology), and Universities. By ensuring that all data is made discoverable and accessible through a single information infrastructure, historical fragmentation has been overcome and institutional strengths are being leveraged to create a genuinely national capability.

Many IMOS data streams are delivered in near real time, as well as in delayed mode (quality controlled), and are being used for data assimilation and parameter estimation in hydrodynamic and biogeochemical modeling systems. Additional funding has been secured to create a Marine Virtual Laboratory (MARVL, http://www.marvl.org.au/) which aims to automate many model preparation steps so as to bring researchers to the stage of simulation and analysis much faster than ever before.

While funding for IMOS has been secured over nine years, through four successive programs, challenges remain in sustaining the system over the very long term and ensuring that Australia makes adequate investment in both observational research infrastructure and operational ocean observing.

ID 2.1-10

Implementation of a Real-time Oceanographic Network for the

Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean Regions: ACTION

Erricos C. Pavlis1, Keith Evans1, Demitris Paradissis2, Paraskevas Milas2, Basil A.

Massinas2, Capt. Dimitrios Evangelidis3 and Lt. Cmdr. Apostolos Papachristos3

1 Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center (GEST/UMBC), Baltimore, MD, United States

2 Dionysos Satellite Observatory, National Technical University of Athens (DSO/NTUA), Athens, Greece

3 Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service (HNHS), Athens, Greece


Sea level monitoring is a common objective of GOOS and GGOS, both systems under GEOSS, but with quite different goals. Tide gauges provide ground truth for altimeter calibration and in situ monitoring of MSL, while precise positioning of such sites with Continuously Observing Reference Stations (CORS) help separate local tectonics from oceanographic signals. We are presenting here the extension of the regional eastern Mediterranean Altimeter Calibration network—eMACnet, to an Aegean-wide network in the Eastern Mediterranean. Coastal tide gauges equipped with GNSS receivers and offshore buoys near OSTM groundtracks (ACTION - Altimeter Calibration and Tectonics Inference Oceanographic Network) will provide better area coverage and timely data availability in support of satellite calibration, MSL and environmental monitoring, tsunami warning, etc. The original network was established with EU’s 5th FP and NASA’s OSTMST funding in 2001.

Since 2008, our collaboration with the Dionysos Satellite Observatory of the Nat. Tech. Univ. of Athens (DSO/NTUA) and the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service (HNHS) helped expand the original network to cover all of the Aegean area, from the northernmost site at THASOS to the southernmost one on GAVDOS. Most of our tide gauge sites are equipped with CORS GNSS: MANI (Peloponnese), EMPORIO (Chios), GAVDOS, KASTELI and PALEKASTRO (on Crete), while GAVDOS and KASTELI data are submitted in real time to IOC:

GEST/UMBC - NASA Goddard & DSO/NTUA Last observation Transmit

ACTION’s primary purpose is the absolute calibration and validation of altimetry missions thence our choice of locations near the OSTM mean groundtrack, sampling OSTM tracks 18, 33, 94, 109, and 185, some of them in more than one location. Current and future missions are supported, JASON-2/3, Cryosat-2, HY-2A, JASON-CS and SWOT, especially the latter, requiring calibration over an area rather than over a single track only. HNHS is modernizing its tide gauge network of 21 sites, with digital systems, some already part of the IOC family:

Furthermore, HNHS is in the process of installing CORS receivers by their equipment and connecting their digital systems to the global grid in near real-time. HNHS plans also to purchase and deploy (tentatively in the south Ionian sea and south of Gavdos), two opensea buoys (NOAA’s DART II type) along with equipment for open-sea environmental monitoring, connecting them eventually to the global grid in near real-time and contributing to various international projects in the area (EUROGOOS, WMO initiatives, IOC, GCOS, GOOS, GGOS, etc.) and the European Tsunami Warning System (ETWS).

ID 2.1-11

Use of Shallow water gliders for monitoring the cross-shelf processes in South Western Australia

Thisara Welhena

University of Western Australia

Temperature and salinity (and associated density) data collected using autonomous shallow water ocean gliders (Slocum Gliders) along the Rottnest Continental Shelf (RCS), revealed important cross-shelf processes and their seasonal variability. Almost 100 transects were obtained through 35 glider missions spanning 3 years. Data indicated that the formation and propagation of dense water masses, defined as dense shelf water cascade (DSWC), is a regular occurrence on the inner shelf (< 50m) and continues throughout the year with varying degrees of intensity. Increase in salinity due to evaporation in summer and autumn and cooling in winter result in increased in density in the inshore regions of the RCS. This higher density water is transported offshore near the sea bed as a dense bottom water plume, which may be 20m in thickness where the water depths are 40m. Existence/non-existence of DSWC is explained through the balance between stratifying and de-stratifying effects using the potential energy anomaly approach. During the autumn and winter months, due to higher cross-shelf density gradients and weaker winds DSWC is present. However, during summer, due to lower cross-shelf density gradients and strong wind mixing, DSWC is absent. Event based variability of cyclic stratification and de-stratification, observed through a moored thermistor string, revealed that DSWC is interrupted by wind mixing of the water column. Finally, transects obtained at the shelf break during the summer months indicated that wind driven upwelling is also an important cross shelf process, with mean vertical excursion rates of 6–10 m per day. During particular events there is interaction between upwelling and DSC downwelling events.

ID 2.1-12

An Overview of the Operational Marine Observing System in China

T. Y. Zhang1 and H. Wang1

1 National Marine Enviromental Forecasting Center, State Oceanic Administration, Beijing, China


The marine observing system in China has been evolving for several decades. Great development has been made over the past 15 years. This paper provides an overview of the current status of the marine observing system in China, including both the satellite and in-situ components, and introduces the plan on how the marine observing system will evolve over the next 10 years.

Currently, the marine observing system in China is mainly composed of tide gauges, meteorological observatories, radar stations, seismic stations, moored buoys, Argo floats, voluntary ships, cross-sectional investigation, and remote sensing satellites. The observing stations are widely distributed along the Chinese coastline. Offshore observations in the shelf seas, deep seas as well as polar regions are gathered by buoys, floats and ships. In addition, HY series satellites carry out observations of ocean color and ocean dynamics with global coverage. Those observations are collected, processed and disseminated through communication networks in a real-time or delay-time mode, which thereafter are assimilated into an operational oceanography forecasting system or a reanalysis system.

China is also an active partner in the international ocean observation programmes. In the near future, an integrated ocean observing system for operational oceanography will be established in China by coordinating with the international observation programmes at regional, national and international levels.