GCOS GOOS WCRP/OOPC IX/3 
page 43 
ANNEX IV 
ARCTIC OCEAN   STATUS, ISSUES, OPPORTUNITIES 
Cecilie Mauritzen 
Oceanography Section, R&D Division, Norwegian Meteorological Institute 
Oslo, Norway 
An Ocean Observing System for the Arctic does not exist at present. Based on the Arctic's 
importance for global climate, and the high cost and high risk involved in developing such a 
system for a partly ice covered ocean, this omission should be taken seriously. Not only 
would climate research be improved by information in the Arctic   so would numerical 
weather prediction and calibration of remote sensing data in general, so an efficient observing 
system demands coordination across fields. 
A timely opportunity arises with the upcoming International Polar Year 2007 2009 (IPY; 
http://www.ipy.org/
), co sponsored by ICSU and WMO.  
In the current implementation plan it is stated that the activities of IPY will consist of: 
   A synoptic set of multidisciplinary observations to establish the status of the polar 
environment in 2007 2008  
   The acquisition of key data sets necessary to understand factors controlling change in 
the polar environment 
   The establishment of a legacy of multidisciplinary observational networks 
   The launch of internationally coordinated, multidisciplinary expeditions into new 
scientific frontiers  
   The implementation of polar observatories to study important facets of Planet Earth 
and beyond 
The IPY planning process is still underway, but there is a grassroot movement to make the 
establishment of an AOOS a core activity, or theme, of IPY.  
Scientific requirements for an AOOS 
   The Arctic Ocean cannot dynamically be considered separately from the ice and 
atmosphere above. Similarly the Arctic cannot be considered separately from the rest 
of the globe. An observing system for the Arctic should recognize these facts, and 
ensure simultaneous, coordinated observations of the first order variables. 
   Oceanic variables of first order importance to be monitored include 
   Strength of the boundary currents. Requires current meter arrays across sloping 
topography at select sites and gliders. 
   Modification of water masses. Requires full depth repeated CTD profiles, for 
instance from bottom moored and/or ice anchored profiling CTDs and gliders. 
   Thickness of ice. Requires upward looking sonars for in situ measurements. 
   Pathways of water masses. Requires subsurface free drifting floats. 
Technical issues for an AOOS 
Some of the necessary instrumentation is proven even in ice covered oceans. These include 
bottom anchored moorings, which naturally will provide the backbone for an AOOS. For 
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