GOOS Center Mission Statement

  • The mission of the GOOS Center at AOML is to manage, as an end-to-end system, NOAA\'s contributions to the Global Drifter and Expendable Bathythermograph Programs.

  • Specific tasks include:
    (1) deploying sensors;
    (2) providing real-time data access; and monitoring data flow and identifying and correcting problems;
    (3) performing quality control on the data;
    (4) providing easy access to the data;
    (5) generating and distributing products that characterize the upper ocean; and
    (6) developing new observational and data management systems.

  • Our vision is to be a timely and reliable provider of high quality oceanographic data and products in response to the needs of a diverse user community.

History and Rationale for Operational Data Collection in a Research Lab

Robert L. Molinari
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
Miami, Florida 33149

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States Department of Commerce has inaugurated a Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) Center at NOAA\'s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML). The initital objectives of the Center are (1) directed at coordinating NOAA\'s global and regional observing network efforts in order to maximize the quality and quantity of data available to users and (2) evaluating new observing methods for incorporation into existing networks.

NOAA\'s present global operations include AOML managed: (1) Volunteer Observing Ship (VOS) network that provides surface marine meteorological observations; (2) VOS network that provides upper ocean temperature data; and (3) surface drifter array that provides surface current, temperature and meteorological data.

Regional networks include the TOGA TAO array, operated by NOAA\'s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, that provides upper ocean and surface meteorological data in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Spatial coverage provided by the individual networks is provided on attached figures. The average number of observations provided by these systems per month is also summarized on an attached figure.

The data provided by these networks are used by NOAA\'s weather and climate forecast groups. Thus, the GOOS Center will direct it\'s efforts at the real-time, in situ, upper ocean and surface meteorological data needed by the NOAA forecasters. The Center activities will require that the operators of the individual networks continue to collect, quality control and disseminate their data.

Specific Center objectives include:

  1. Ensure a continuous "pipeline" of data from sensor to user: Data pipelines will be established for each of the data networks. The pipelines will be "tapped" at various locations to insure that data are flowing continuously. Breaks in the pipeline will be identified and corrected. The final taps will be placed at the modeling centers. This monitoring node will determine if data reaching the prediction center are being used in the forecasts. If not, a determination will be made discriminating between problems with the observations versus problems with the assimilation/modeling methodology.

  2. Evaluate and implement, after verification, new observing networks:
    1. The ability to obtain and transmit high quality surface salinity data will be developed. Thermosalinograph (TSG) sensors will be placed on NOAA\'s research fleet to obtain in real-time, surface salinity data. Methodsfor sensor upkeep, data transmission and data quality control are being evaluated. Once these evaluations are completed, collection of TSG data from the U.S. research fleet and additional VOS will be implemented.
    2. In the short term, expendable conductivity temperature depth (XCTD) probes will be used to obtain temperature and salinity profiles on a limited number of VOS. As is the case for the TSG observations, data transmission and quality control procedures must be developed for the XCTD data.
    3. The ability to obtain temperature and salinity profiles from PALACE floats is under consideration using data from a large WOCE deployment in the North Atlantic.
    4. The ability to obtain surface wind observations from satellite tracked surface drifters is being evaluated through deployments in "hurricane alley" of the tropical and subtropical North Atlantic.

  3. Develop new products that incorporate data from the diverse observing networks: New products will be developed to provide a portrait of the characteristics of the upper ocean and surface atmosphere. The products will combine data from the diverse observing networks to define the state of the surface air/sea boundary layers.

The NOAA global observing networks provide considerable data in the Atlantic Ocean. Extensive coordination with any EUROGOOS effort in this basin is critical to insure maximum benefits from the typically limited resources available to individual network operators. Historical precedence for this cooperation has been established through the WOCE program for instance. Within WOCE, bodies for coordinating VOS activities were established to maximize the data available from an expendable bathythermograph, upper ocean temperature data collection effort.

Timeline of GOOS Center Development

1972 AOML begins satellite drifting buoy experiments using EOLE and RAMS tracking methods    
1979 Service ARGOS used initially at AOML for EPOCS    
1980   NOAA and Navy begin joint support of long-term XBT monitoring program at Scripps  
1982 Data center-like activities begin at AOML with EPOCS data products forwarded to CDC, Peru, and Ecuador NOAA/NOS begins global VOS program using SEAS  
1983   AOML initiated XBT program in SE Pacific using vessels from regional countries  
1987 AOML established theData Acquisition Center to provide uniform and timely data for International TOGA Program    
1989   AOML and NOS begin cooperative operation of Atlantic VOS program  
1990   Transition Pacific SIO XBT program to NOS  
1991 TOGA/Pacific Program transitioned to WOCE Global Drifter Program.    
1994 Transfer operational tasks from SIO to AOML    
1998   NOS VOS program transferred to AOML GOOS Center formed combining functions of GDC and UOTC
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