Integrated Ocean Observing System

The U.S. IOOS is a coordinated national and international network of observations with associated data transmission, data management  and communications (DMAC), and data analyses and modeling that acquires information on past, present and future states of the oceans and U.S. coastal waters to the head of tide. “Coastal” includes the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and territorial sea, Great Lakes, and semi-enclosed bodies of water and tidal wetlands connected to the coastal ocean.[1] U. S. IOOS is a “user driven” system that is a collaborative project between academia, federal agencies, industry, local and state governments and non-profits working to address the following seven societal goals:

(1)   Improve predictions of climate change and weather and their effects on coastal communities and the nation;

(2)   Improve the safety and efficiency of maritime operations;

(3)   More effectively mitigate the effects of natural hazards;

(4)   Improve national and homeland security

(5)   Reduce public health risks

(6)   More effectively protect and restore healthy coastal ecosystems; and

(7)   Enable the sustained use of ocean and coastal resources[1]

To meet these objectives, U.S. IOOS will integrate six subsystems: three functional and three cross-cutting. All subsystems constitute “a collection of components organized to accomplish a specific function or set of functions.” The subsystems are as follows:

  1. Observing sub-system
  2. DMAC subsystem
  3. Modeling and analysis subsystem
  4. Governance and management subsystem
  5. Research and development subsystem
  6. Training and education subsytem

The U.S. IOOS Program Office released the U.S. IOOS Blueprint for Full Capability, Version 1.0 preceding a thorough review and approval period by the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC).

The IOOS Blueprint builds upon the strategic framework provided by previous high-level U.S. IOOS conceptual, organizational, planning, and developmental efforts. It is intended to guide efforts of U.S. IOOS partners to develop and sustain a fully capable U.S. IOOS.

The IOOS Blueprint is a step towards harmonizing all of the important IOOS activities.


[1] National Office for Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observations, Data Management and Communications Plan for Research and Operational Integrated Ocean Observing Systems, Ocean.US Publication, March 2005

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