Relevant Links and Documents
Blue Planet Initiative
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has acknowledged the importance of the oceans in its Work Plan Task SB-01: “Oceans and Society; Blue Planet,” which was introduced in 2011. In the Draft Post-2015 GEO Work Programme prepared for acceptance by the GEO Plenary in November 2015, the oceans are addressed in the GEO Blue Planet Initiative (BPI). Both the former Task and the new Initiative comprehensively consider the research and infrastructure needs for monitoring of the physical, chemical and biological ocean systems, the development of forecasting capabilities, the societal information needs related to the open ocean and the interface between land and oceans. Ultimately, the development of services meeting the information needs of societal stakeholders and capacity building to better support decision making related to oceans are both the near-term and long-term objectives. The GEO Coastal Zone Community of Practice (CZCP) supports the BPI particularly with respect to the development of services for the coastal zone. The NSF-funded Research Coordination Network “OceanObs” focuses on issues related to research and development of ocean observation techniques and methodologies.
The Blue Planet Task has organized two symposiums in 2012 and 2015 in Brazil and Australia, respectively. These events have been crucial in bringing together a global, interdisciplinary research community engaged in the use of Earth observations and models to deepen the understanding of the oceans, to extend the monitoring essential ocean variables including those that are linked to issues of societal relevance, to improve predictive capabilities, and to provide societally relevant information on the oceans. The Blue Planet community has engaged with other scientific communities addressing ocean-related issues, in particular the CZCP, “OceanObs” and IEEE’s Ocean Engineering Society (OES). To continue these important exchanges in the ocean community, the 3rd Blue Planet Symposium will be jointly organized by the GEO Blue Planet Initiative (BPI), the CZCP, OceanObs, and IEEE OES.
Symposium Scope and Objectives
The 3rd Blue Planet Symposium will be unique in addressing emerging societal information needs. Climate change is happening now. Changes in the oceans are increasingly visible. Sea level rise is happening now. Investments need to be made to address the challenges associated with these changes. Science needs to provide sound guidance to decision makers so that they can make informed decisions on how to address the risks and utilize the opportunities these challenges come with. Therefore, the key focus of the symposium will be on meeting societal information needs resulting from the important role the oceans play in Earth’s life-support system and the challenge of minimizing the impacts of our activities on the oceans while utilizing the resources of the oceans to meet our needs. The symposium will address four specific subthemes:
The 3rd Blue Planet Symposium will provide the forum for a discussion of the science in these four subthemes and the research and monitoring needs resulting from the societal information needs. Identifying the “essential ocean variables” (EOVs) that need to be monitored in order to address the urgent scientific questions related to the societal challenges in the four subthemes is an important step towards an observing system as a basis to generate the knowledge needed by society. In a number of ocean science communities, sets of EOVs are agreed upon based on available capabilities and expertise. Equally important is a process that starts from the societal benefits and goals and identifies the space in which the EOVs sit, and the symposium will consider a road map towards such a process. Other questions to be addressed at the symposium include: Which of the EVs are measurable? Which of them could be measured if technology would evolve?
The 3rd Blue Planet Symposium also will be a unique opportunity to provide input from a range of communities to the further development of Blue Planet Initiative in the GEO Work Programme and to improve coordination between observational networks. It will be a platform for the participating communities to exchange information on their activities related to observing, monitoring, modeling, and forecasting of the oceans and to explore synergies and new opportunities for collaboration across community and disciplinary boundaries. The specific objectives of the symposium related to community development are to: