Atlantic Ocean Observing System

The All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System (AtlantOS) is an integrated concept for a forward-looking framework and basin-scale partnership to establish a comprehensive ocean observing system for the Atlantic Ocean as a whole.

At OceanObs’ 2019, it has been presented how the H2020-funded project AtlantOS is planned to become a larger Program, building on the coordinated work of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The strategy underlying the Program was recently published in a paper entitled “BluePrint visions for an integrated Atlantic Ocean observing system in 2030”.

The results achieved so far in Blue-Action have been feeding into:


Essentially, Blue-Action is contributing to defining the future Atlantic monitoring system by:

  1. Optimizing the monitoring systems at the gateways to the Arctic.
  2. Assessing and enhancing the usefulness of the North Atlantic ocean observations in decadal prediction systems.
  3. Demonstrating the value of initialized decadal predictions in climate services.

Blue-Action aims to improve our ability to describe, model, and predict Arctic climate change and its impact on Northern Hemisphere climate, weather, and their extremes, and to deliver valuated climate services of societal benefit.

The North Atlantic Ocean has a significant influence on Europe’s weather and climate. This is related to the sea surface temperature and heat transported by ocean currents.  Recent research suggests that we could use our understanding of the North Atlantic Ocean to predict winter temperatures in Europe and Arctic sea ice extent 5-10 years in advance.

To improve predictions of weather and climate in the future, and to better understand how climate change could affect Europe, we must continue to pursue trans-national research that links oceanography, climate and atmospheric sciences. Early-warning indicators for approaching climate impacts, fit-for-purpose ocean observing systems, and development of mitigation strategies should be prioritised. Investments in ocean and atmospheric sciences are essential to Europe’s global leadership in weather and climate science and for safeguarding regions and communities from the risks posed by a changing climate.

The Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation is an agreement for Transatlantic cooperation so that the Atlantic ocean is healthy, resilient, safe, productive, understood and treasured  so as to promote the well-being, prosperity, and security of present and future generations.

Blue-Action contributes to the statement firstly through ocean observation and data sharing. By using observational data and including these in new modelling systems, Blue-Action teams are developing our understanding of linkages between the Arctic and the Northern Hemisphere, and improving the wider scientific capacity to predict changes across the Atlantic region.

The project has also committed to open data access, specifically enabling open access to our outputs through the Blue-Action community in Zenodo.

Blue-Action scientists have worked to understand ocean health and fisheries, through studying the linkages between climate and ecosystem dynamics in the subpolar North Atlantic, and forecasting the distribution of economically valuable species.

Finally, Blue-Action enhances capacity building and engagement through working with public and private decision-makers and users of climate information to better understand their needs for incorporating uncertain scientific evidence into real-world decision-making processes.

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