EuroGOOS, the European Global Ocean Observing System

When you’re talking about oceanographic research in Europe, you’re almost certainly going to come across the efforts of the European Global Ocean Observing System (EuroGOOS). The international non-profit’s mission statement is the very stereotype of bureaucratic jargon – “EuroGOOS working groups and networks of marine observing platforms (task teams) deliver strategies, priorities and standards towards an integrated, sustained and fit-for-purpose European Ocean Observing System (EOOS)” – so we’ll provide a few realistics in English below.

EuroGOOS is the Continental wing of the internationally-organized Global Ocean Observing System and is based in Brussels. Thousands are employed or interning with the program’s 41 coordinated programs in 18 partnering nations: Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The MerinERA program assisted in the formation of EuroGOOS’s current organizational structure, which today had streamlined its hundreds of thousands of annual man-hours into five regional operational systems: the Arctic (Arctic ROOS), Baltic (BOOS), European Northwest Shelf (NOOS), the Ireland-Biscay-Iberian area (IBI-ROOS), and the Mediterranean (MONGOOS). Strong cooperation within these regions enables the involvement of many more partners and countries. This forms the basis of the EuroGOOS work and is combined with high-level representation at European and global forums.

What is operational oceanography?

As astronomy is to the stars, so is operational oceanography to the seas. This discipline involves mapping, of course, but today operational oceanography is commonly used throughout the world in order to define the current makeup of the oceans, to predict future trends and to study the effects on Earth’s oceans due to climate change.

What is the current plan of EuroGOOS?

As of this writing, EuroGOOS is working under the auspices of a seven-year plan running 2014 to 2020. Now that the organization’s overseers are apparently pleased with the state of the network, EuroGOOS is apparently looking to flex its self-promotional muscles going into the 20s.

While the EuroGOOS Strategy for 2014-2020 emphasizes a lot more of the bread-and-butter stuff for which the NGO has long been known, but with lots more emphasis on outreach. Indeed, bullet point #2 in the document’s abstract (chasing the ever-popular “identify priorities”) states that EuroGOOS must “Promote operational oceanography and the development of underpinning science and technology at regional and global scales.”

And since “sustainability” has been a European bureaucratic favorite for decades now, EuroGOOS is moving up the s-word in its priorities as well. Seeing the writing in the sand, EuroGOOS directors urge the team to “Ensure coordination of the European contribution to sustained marine observational systems necessary to meet the requirements for all marine-related purposes, including research, operational oceanography, and regular assessments of the state of our seas and oceans.” Read: Let’s keep up the science, keep our jobs, and maybe keep the planet livable, people!