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International Workshop to Develop an Ocean Acidification Observing Network of Ship Surveys, Moorings, Floats and Gliders

University of Washington, Seattle
June 26 - June 28, 2012

Workshop Goals

The principal goals of this international workshop are to:

  1. provide the rationale and design of the components and locations of an international carbon ocean acidification observing network that includes repeat hydrographic surveys, underway measurements on volunteer observing ships, moorings, floats and gliders, taking into account existing networks and programs wherever possible;
  2. identify a minimum suite of measurement parameters and performance metrics for each major component of the observing system;
  3. develop a strategy for data quality assurance and data distribution; and
  4. discuss requirements for program integration at the international level.
The 3-day workshop will be held at the University of Washington on June 26-28, 2012 for a group of 50-60 international scientists and program managers. The workshop report will provide the strategy for the observing system for review and vetting and hopeful support by the member countries.

The focus of this workshop is to design a global ocean acidification observing network that will delineate the physical-chemical processes controlling the acidification of the oceans and its large-scale biological impacts (changes in productivity, nutrient distributions, etc.). The existing global oceanic carbon observatory network of repeat hydrographic surveys, time-series stations, floats and glider observations, and volunteer observing ships in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans can provide a strong foundation of observations of the carbonate chemistry needed to understand ocean acidification. Enhancing these activities and expanding the global time-series network with new carbon and pH sensors on floats and gliders will provide additional important information on the changing conditions in both open-ocean and coastal environments that are presently under-sampled.

Ideally, this network would also have the capability to measure CaCO3 saturation states, biological production rates and species functional group changes. Additional sensors for dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity would also be beneficial for detecting changes in the marine inorganic carbon system including inputs of other non-CO2 sources of acidification. Measurements of net primary production, either directly or from nutrient or oxygen inventories along with an understanding of water movements in coastal zones, are also important to identify biological adaptations to ocean acidification. These additional measurements are needed to predict ecosystem responses to ocean acidification.

These activities will require a coordinated and integrated international research effort that is closely linked with other international carbon research programs. Leveraging existing infrastructure and carbon monitoring programs will enable research to be conducted efficiently and quickly. Identification of new time series stations, repeat surveys and underway measurements are also urgently needed in under sampled open-ocean and coastal regions. Moored buoys equipped with carbon system sensors and ancillary technologies for ocean acidification should be added to the present carbon network as well as adding new sensors to the existing network. The global ocean acidification observing network must be developed in a collaborative international context in order to guide international coordination and infrastructure development.

Finally, we will discuss what the role of the International OA Coordination Office will be in implementing and/or tracking the international network in terms of both the infrastructure deployment and the integration of the data collected across platforms and countries.