New Publication: The Arctic Component of the Global Ocean Observing System


INTAROS has contributed to a new review paper on the status of global observing systems, looking at the development, design and implementation of a sustained Arctic ocean observing system.


An international research community review article has assessed the basis and made commendations for the development and implementation of an Arctic Region Component of the Global Ocean Observing System (ARCGOOS).


Scientists from 24 research institutions in seven countries involved in polar research have contributed to this road map for an ocean observing system in the Arctic. The particular scientific challenges with respect to ocean, sea ice, and atmosphere observations, the internationally accepted governance structures, the policy drivers and the related societal benefits particular for the Arctic are discussed.


The Arctic presents distinct needs and challenges, demanding novel observing strategies, including identification of distinct and complementary essential ocean variables for the Arctic.  The paper addresses the system design, optimization, implementation and operational requirements. In order to limit the costs ARCGOOS must also to a large extent also be built on existing infrastructures and sharing of data following FAIR principles. 


"A Framework for the Development, Design and Implementation of a Sustained Arctic Ocean Observing System" was led by Craig M. Lee at University of Washington and with contributions from the Nansen Center scientists Prof. Stein Sandven, Dr. Hanne Sagen, Dr. Toril Hamre and Dr. Roshin Raj.


The paper concludes with a few specific recommendations drawn from this review article and some of the documents and initiatives this work draws on.

Recommendation 1: While progress has been made in several disciplines or sectors, what is lacking is a framework that facilitates and supports coordinated implementation and integration of observing system components that fill critical thematic, regional, or trans-sectoral gaps. We recognize that an Arctic Ocean observing system will require such a framework that allows for the optimization, modification, and integration of existing observing programs and networks to go hand in hand with design and implementation of new observing components. Quantitative, simulation-based frameworks for optimal observing network design (including, OSE, OSSE, OED) should be advanced, matured and be made available as a tool for supporting ARCGOOS efforts. Such an approach should build on capacity and leadership by SAON, partnering with global observing programs and systems (in particular those called out above) where appropriate. Private-public partnerships and the approach taken by the Copernicus, a European Program for the establishment of capacity for earth observation, may serve as models and incentives for increased attention needed at the level of potential public and private sector funders of such activities.

Recommendation 2: An emerging governance structure under SAON will help minimize duplication, channel resources, and support shared benefits. What is urgently needed as a first step is international collaboration on developing a roadmap for an integrated observing system that meets user requirements as well as putting in place components that draw on existing networks and help maximize shared benefits in the near- and mid-term. The AOS and venues such as OceanObs need to be drawn upon as platforms to advance exchange and define specific action. AOS in particular provides a forum for different user groups, engineers and sensor network designers, and the broader research community to come together and make progress with some of the thornier issues, that require intense, focused input and reconciliation of different approaches. The Arctic-themed Community White Papers submitted to OceanObs’19 illustrate both the breadth of contributions and the potential for developing closer links and optimization along regional or sectoral interfaces. Beyond these surveys, a commitment toward parsing and consolidation of planning efforts is needed.

Recommendation 3: An efficient ARCGOOS that provides information across the range of scales demanded by the SBAs and missions laid out above, needs to focus attention on the integration of remote sensing and in-situ observations. Robustness and reliable data delivery play a major role in the design of observing systems, as well as multipurpose use of autonomous observing platforms and infrastructure. Low-cost, long-endurance autonomous platforms offer promising new approaches for large-scale, sustained observing. Development of small, low-power sensors suitable for deployment on these platforms requires further support and attention by both the engineering and research community. Development and implementation of systems for geopositioning and telemetry is needed to make underwater autonomous observing systems fully operational.

Recommendation 4: To maximize the uptake of observations and derived products, all data must be secured in long-term storage in an established data repository adhering to best practices for scientific data management. This includes standardized metadata describing the content, processing and quality control procedures applied, and assignment of unique persistent identifiers (such as DOIs). Datasets must be searchable and accessible through standard protocols, enabling a wide range of software clients to utilize them, and must be accompanied by a data license. The license will define acceptable use of the data, and include a citation statement linking back to the data providers giving them credit for their datasets. There is a need for a governance structure to coordinate the many ongoing initiatives in Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) for Arctic data to ensure all future ARCGOOS data follow the FAIR Principles. SAON, through its Arctic Data Committee, should take the lead in establishing a pan-Arctic SDI in collaboration with the major players in Arctic data management.

Recommendation 5: To ensure societal relevance, address critical capacity issues, and acknowledge relevant expertise and authority, Indigenous peoples of the Arctic and Arctic residents need to be involved in the definition, design, and implementation of an Arctic Ocean observing system; co-design of the system, co-management of resulting data products, and integration of community-based observations into the observing system fabric best serve this goal


Citation: Lee CM, Starkweather S, Eicken H, Timmermans M-L, Wilkinson J, Sandven S, Dukhovskoy D, Gerland S, Grebmeier J, Intrieri JM, Kang S-H, McCammon M, Nguyen AT, Polyakov I, Rabe B, Sagen H, Seeyave S, Volkov D, Beszczynska-Möller A, Chafik L, Dzieciuch M, Goni G, Hamre T, King AL, Olsen A, Raj RP, Rossby T, Skagseth Ø, Søiland H and Sørensen K (2019) A Framework for the Development, Design and Implementation of a Sustained Arctic Ocean Observing System. Front. Mar. Sci. 6:451. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00451  


Abstract: From the abstarct: Rapid Arctic warming drives profound change in the marine environment that have significant socio-economic impacts within the Arctic and beyond, including climate and weather hazards, food security, transportation, infrastructure planning and resource extraction. These concerns drive efforts to understand and predict Arctic environmental change and motivate development of an Arctic Region Component of the Global Ocean Observing System (ARCGOOS) capable of collecting the broad, sustained observations needed to support these endeavors. This paper provides a roadmap for establishing the ARCGOOS. ARCGOOS development must be underpinned by a broadly endorsed framework grounded in high-level policy drivers and the scientific and operational objectives that stem from them. This should be guided by a transparent, internationally accepted governance structure with recognized authority and organizational relationships with the national agencies that ultimately execute network plans. A governance model for ARCGOOS must guide selection of objectives, assess performance and fitness-to-purpose, and advocate for resources. A requirements-based framework for an ARCGOOS begins with the Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs) that underpin the system. SBAs motivate investments and define the system’s science and operational objectives. Objectives can then be used to identify key observables and their scope. The domains of planning/policy, strategy, and tactics define scope ranging from decades and basins to focused observing with near real time data delivery. Patterns emerge when this analysis is integrated across an appropriate set of SBAs and science/operational objectives, identifying impactful variables and the scope of the measurements. When weighted for technological readiness and logistical feasibility, this can be used to select Essential ARCGOOS Variables, analogous to Essential Ocean Variables of the Global Ocean Observing System. The Arctic presents distinct needs and challenges, demanding novel observing strategies. Cost, traceability and ability to integrate region-specific knowledge have to be balanced, in an approach that builds on existing and new observing infrastructure. ARCGOOS should benefit from established data infrastructures following the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reuseable Principles to ensure preservation and sharing of data and derived products. Linking to the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON) process and involving Arctic stakeholders, for example through liaison with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), can help ensure success.

05 September 2019