Many actors, working together internationally, are needed to bring about sustainable management of the oceans that is informed by sound science, underpinned by a comprehensive global ocean measurement system.
- National governments working individually and through intergovernmental structures and bodies – who are agents for political action and international consensus and support the governance framework for international cooperation.
- Non-governmental organisations aimed at coordinating science, influencing policy and/or raising public awareness at regional and global scales.
- The wider scientific community, working nationally and internationally – who undertake research, share and synthesise ideas and findings and identify key scientific challenges and develop internationally agreed research agendas.
- Funders of research and monitoring programmes whether they be governments, businesses or not for profit foundations – who provide the resources needed.
- Individual citizens working individually and collectively whose support and desire for a better life and world provides continuing motivation and inspiration for all involved.
Within this landscape, we as members of POGO individually have distinctive roles and collectively have a unique role.
Our aim is to focus on actions based on our unique individual and collective capabilities as described. It is not our aim to duplicate or replicate work that can or should be done by other organisations with other relevant competencies.
We have particularly close and complementary relationships with two bodies providing overarching frameworks for global observations, namely UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission governed Global Ocean Observing System (IOC-GOOS) and the Group on Earth Observations’ Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEO-GEOSS). We also work closely with a number of non-governmental, international organisations (such as the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, SCOR) and receive valuable support from foundations (such as the Nippon, Sloan and Lounsbery Foundations).
PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS SUPPORTED BY POGO
POGO helped to fund the meeting at which the Latin-American network of bio-optical oceanographers called Antares was born and led subsequently to the formation of a global-scale analogue, ChloroGIN (see below). POGO continues to collaborate with and provide support to Antares, particularly through its capacity building programmes and the NF-POGO Alumni Network for Oceans.
Around the time POGO was being started, the Argo programme was also beginning. One of the first crusades of POGO was to throw the collective weight of its members behind the world expansion of Argo. A collaboration among 50 research and operational agencies from 26 countries, Argo now has charge of more than 3,500 floats around the world’s oceans. Because the members of POGO are directors with the power to commit resources and influence decision makers, a resolution to accord full support to Argo had immediate effect, and the distribution of floats around the world ocean improved rapidly. Argo is now part of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).
AMT is a multidisciplinary scientific programme, hosted by Plymouth Marine Laboratory in collaboration with the National Oceanographic Centre. AMT undertakes biological, chemical and physical oceanographic research during an annual voyage between the UK and the South Atlantic and provides the longest time series of oceanographic observations on an ocean-basin scale. The programme was established in 1995 and has included 21 research cruises involving over 200 scientists from 15 countries. An annual POGO-AMT fellowship is offered to candidates from developing nations to facilitate capacity building through the transfer of first-hand experience and knowledge to the benefit of the global scientific community.
ChloroGIN was created in 2006 during a workshop sponsored by POGO, GOOS, GEO, IOCCG and PML, and was inspired by the Latin American Network Antares. It aims to promote in situ chlorophyll measurements in combination with satellite-derived estimates. ChloroGIN is funded by the Canadian Space Agency, and was included as a Task within the first GEO Work Plan. It later became a component of the new GEO Task SB01 “Oceans and Society: Blue Planet” (now known as the GEO Blue Planet Initiative).
The Global Alliance of Continuous Plankton Recorder Surveys was initiated by the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS) during a workshop held in Plymouth in September 2011. POGO was invited to attend to provide advice on setting up a new international programme, and to sign as a witness the Memorandum of Understanding. Members of the Alliance currently include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, UK and USA.
Together with SCOR, and with seed funding from the Sloan Foundation, POGO is supporting the development of the International Quiet Ocean Experiment. The IQOE is a programme set to last a decade, aimed at mesuring sound in the ocean and the effects of anthopogenic sound on marine life. The programme will make use of existing ocean observing systems and establish new ones to measure the global ocean soundscape.
NANO (NF-POGO Alumni Network for Oceans) is a global network of former scholars of NF and POGO programmes on capacity building. The network is organised into regional coalitions such as NANO Africa, NANO Latin America, NANO India and NANO South-East Asia. Within the NANO network, NF and POGO promote joint research activities and training and provide a platform for networking and exchange.
POGO member institutions have been driving the establishment of OceanSITES, a network of deep-ocean, multi-disciplinary time-series reference sites, measuring many variables and monitoring the full depth of the ocean from the surface down to 5,000 metres. This network comprises about 30 surface and 30 sub-surface arrays. At its 2011 meeting in Seoul, POGO’s directors decided to give immediate priority to increasing support for OceanSITES. They also agreed to encourage all OceanSITES parties to maintain a minimum set of common measurements. OceanSITES moorings are integral to the Global Ocean Observing System, as they complement satellite imagery and Argo float data by adding time and depth, and by expanding what is observed.
SMART Subsea Cables for Observing the Global Ocean: This Joint Task Force sponsored by 3 UN agencies (IOC, ITU, WMO) aims to integrate sensors into the repeaters of future trans-oceanic telecommunications cable systems. Sensors would “piggyback” on the existing power and communications infrastructure, with the potential for global coverage at modest incremental cost. Initial sensors would be temperature, pressure, and acceleration.
“Linking Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions with Climate and People”. The global and multidisciplinary research project Surface Ocean – Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) was established to provide international science coordination and capacity building. Initiated with a first Open Science Conference in 2000 and formally launched in 2004, SOLAS research aims to understand the key biogeochemical-physical interactions and feedbacks between the ocean and atmosphere. Achievement of this goal is important to understand and quantify the role that ocean-atmosphere interactions play in the regulation of climate and global change.
POGO is providing funding towards the 2021 SOLAS summer School.
POGO is a sponsor of the Southern Ocean Observing System, which published its Science Plan and established a Project Office at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, in 2011. The SOOS Data Network is the primary access point for search, discovery, mapping and download of data that has been determined to be of significance to the SOOS. In addition, the Southern Ocean Knowledge and Information wiki (SOKI) aims to provide a source of standardised and validated (peer-reviewed) reference material on Southern Ocean ecosystems and on the research tools used in the region.