Urge to speed up installation of system to monitor global ocean
Added on 2010-10-29 14:35:50
Oceanographers worldwide, united in the Partnership for the Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) - where VLIZ represents the Belgian marine scientists - and the organisation ‘Oceans United’ will plead on the GEO Plenary and Ministerial Summit for a more systematic monitoring of the state of our global oceans. By means of recent and innovative digital developments, an implementation of such a surveillance system is feasible. Now more than ever.
The ocean surface is 30 percent more acidic today than it was in 1800, much of that increase occurring in the last 50 years – a rising trend that could both harm coral reefs and profoundly impact tiny shelled plankton at the base of the ocean food web, scientists warn. Despite the seriousness of such changes to the ocean, however, the world has yet to deploy a complete suite of available tools to monitor rising acidification and other ocean conditions that have a fundamental impact on life throughout the planet.
Marine life patterns, water temperature, sea level, and polar ice cover join acidity and other variables in a list of ocean characteristics that can and should be tracked continuously through the expanded deployment of existing technologies in a permanent, integrated global monitoring system, scientists say.
The 'Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans' (POGO), representing 38 major oceanographic institutions from 21 countries and leading a global consortium called 'Oceans United', will urge government officials and ministers meeting in Beijing Nov. 3-5 to help complete an integrated global ocean observation system by target date 2015. It would be the marine component of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems under discussion in Beijing by some 71 member nations of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations.
The cost to create an adequate monitoring system has been estimated at 10 billion Euro in assets, with 3-4 billion Euro in annual operating costs.
Belgium is represented in POGO through the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ).
POGO/Oceans United News release (pdf document)
About POGO: www.ocean-partners.org
About GEO: www.earthobservations.org
About GEO-VII Summit and ministers meeting: www.earthobservations.org/meetings/geo7.html
About ‘Oceans United’ and the ‘Global Ocean Observing System’ (GOOS): http://oceanunited.net/Ocean