Operational oceanography is an emerging field within traditional physical oceanography. It is motivating by the increasing awareness, among scientists and policy makers, that understanding the ocean/atmosphere climate system requires and immense collection of data. The spatial boundaries of this data set extend across the globe. Further, we recognize that this data set must extend as far back in time as possible and indefinitely into the future. Data collected routinely , will be used in conjunction with numerical models to provide several benefits for society. It cannot be done by one country and to be of maximum benefit, it should be coordinated globally.

Locally, within AOML\'s GOOS Center, operational oceanography involves the routine collection of upper ocean temperature profiles and surface current trajectories by a variety of methods.

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