Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)

Système mondial d'observation de l'océan
Sistema Mundial de Observación de los Océanos

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Feb 1992, Paris (France), at first intergovernmental meeting. Memorandum of Understanding signed, 1993, by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), International Council for Science (ICSU), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment). As of 2005, oceanographic component of Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS).


Collect comprehensive information on properties and variability of the Earth's ocean system as basis for monitoring and forecasting its state under changing conditions; assist in detection of climate change and assessing its impact; provide a basis for development of national and international policies for resource management and coastal development and management, for assessing and preserving the health of the ocean and for promoting related capacity building in ocean science and its application; using already existing scientific research networks, gather, store and exploit data with a view to arriving at practical decisions concerning climate and ocean resources including fish and other living matter.

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'Main focus': modules (Coastal; Open Ocean) identifying user communities and requirements; designing end-to-end outputs to satisfy these requirements. 'Main methods': data and information management; ocean observation in situ and from space; snowcasting and forecasting; activities, including workshops. Includes: operational oceanographic observations and analyses; supporting research; timely distribution of data and products; data assimilation into numerical models leading to predictions; capacity building in participating member states to develop analysis and application capability, especially developing countries. Phased approach: (i) planning, including design and technical definition; (ii) operational demonstration (pilot projects); (iii) incorporation of suitable existing and new observing activities; (iv) gradual operational implementation of the permanent or ongoing GOOS; (v) continued assessment and improvement. 'Current projects': El Nino Southern Oscillation Observing and Forecasting System; development of national and regional programmes; Argo - seeding the ocean with 3,000 profiling floats for data collection; PIRATA - monitoring ocean's role in climate control; Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment - assimilating real time meteorological and ocean data into forecasting models; GOOS Regional Alliances Network Development (GRAND), supporting regional activities of GOOS. Organizes: I-GOOS Meeting (every 2 years); GOOS Forum (every 2 years). Regional Alliances organize regional conferences, seminars and workshops.


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English, French, Russian, Spanish.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 15 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 7 non-governmental organizations.
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Members in 100 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Oceanography
    • Oceanography
  • Research, Standards
    • Inspection, Tests
  • Cybernetics
    • Systems

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 14: Life Below Water



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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