ATCM 39/XP018 provides an introduction to the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS; www.soos.aq). SOOS aims to facilitate the collection and delivery of essential observations on dynamics and change of Southern Ocean systems to all international stakeholders (researchers, governments, industries).
SOOS will be implemented regionally through Regional Working Groups, currently one for the West Antarctic Peninsula and one for the Indian Sector. A Ross Sea Working Group is in the process of being established. Apart from the regional working groups, which will be of direct interest to the implementation of monitoring programs in different regions of the CCAMLR and Antarctic Treaty areas, there are 5 main topics described here that SC-CAMLR and CEP may be interested in participating and/or developing a relationship with SOOS:
- the development of priority variables (“ecosystem Essential Ocean Variables” – eEOVs) for observing dynamics and change in Southern Ocean ecosystems (Constable et al. 2016). These variables are intended to be defined biological or ecological quantities, which are derived from field observations, and which contributes significantly to assessments of Southern Ocean ecosystems - status and trends in ecosystem properties, attribution of trends to causes, and predicting future trajectories;
- the spatial and temporal design of a sustained circumpolar marine biological observing system in SOOS, which is intended to be completed in time for consideration at the ICED 2018 International Conference on Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (www.MEASO2018.aq);
- the SOOS Portal for linking metadata, accessing datasets and synthesis products, and coordinating field activities, which aims to resolve two important gaps in the Southern Ocean science community – better access to all the data relevant to the Southern Ocean, and better advance knowledge of field activities in order to facilitate better co-ordination and collaboration in research programs.
- assessments of the state of Southern Ocean ecosystems will be facilitated by SOOS through linking datasets through the SOOS Portal and in facilitating the collection of observations to support assessments.
- circumpolar benchmarking of the state of Southern Ocean ecosystems in 2022, which will build on the work of GLOBEC, the Census of Antarctic Marine Life and the SCAR Biogeographic Atlas, to provide a comprehensive circumpolar ecological assessment that will link different long-term biological datasets from throughout the Southern Ocean and to provide the baseline for sustained circumpolar biological observations and assessments of change in the future.