How to observe the Global Ocean ?

The global Ocean is immense, inaccessible and constantly changing. Much of this change is natural, but there is evidence that man is tipping the delicate balance of this complex system. We can already see changes happening, but what will be the long-term consequences and how will this affect humans and nature?

To monitor the Global Ocean, scientists use a variety of sensors and instruments, which give us essential information at different spatial and temporal scales about how our oceans are changing.

Open-ocean observatories Fixed point observatories Moorings and other technology are used to observe how the oceans are changing at a fixed-point. We need to monitor our coastal and open ocean to see what is happening near our shores and also out in the deep blue sea.
ROV ROV's (Remotely Operated Vehicles) access previously unexplored areas of the Ocean such as the deep-sea or the hydrothermal vent systems. The ROV's image sea-life and can even bring back samples from the abyss.
Argo drifters In 2009, more than 3000 Argo drifters followed the ocean currents all around the world and recorded physical and chemical properties in the upper ocean interior.
Research ships Research ships are specially designed for scientific sampling in the field. Scientists onboard oceanographic vessels equipped with laboratories and a large variety of instruments, measure and record ocean properties and evolution at specific locations.
Ferry Box The oceans are a commercial highway for cargo ships, ferries and fishing vessels. Scientists developed a ships of opportuny programme which can easily be deployed on ship at opportunity and monitors the changing values of temperature, salinity or fluorescence across the oceans.
Satellites Satellites observe the sea surface and provide precious information about sea temperature anomalies or phytoplankton blooms. Satellites also relay to scientists ashore data acquired by the instruments deployed at sea.

The EuroSITES network is part of a worldwide project called GEO (Group on Earth Observation). This is a global initiative to monitor, observe, share and inform society and build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). It includes land, sea, air observations taken both in situ and remotely. EuroSITES observatories currently deliver a unique set of climate sensitive atmospheric and oceanographic datasets in near real-time from key open ocean sites. These are used to understand the past and present ocean and predict future changes. Since 2008, EuroSITES has been a registered contributor to the ocean component of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), particularly through task AR-09-03c 'Global Ocean Observing Systems' co-led by GOOS, POGO and IEEE. The common EuroSITES data format and policy for open access to data in near real-time also aligns with the GEO data management vision for global data sharing and the datasets of climate sensitive atmospheric and oceanographic are also essential for many of the GEO societal benefit areas including climate, biodiversity, carbon monitoring, and capacity building. Following presentations at science and technology meetings, GEO workshops and the 2010 GEO Ministerial Summit in Beijing (watch the film), it is anticipated that EuroSITES will continue to develop its contribution to the future 2012-2015 GEO Workplan, the implementation of the Data Sharing Action Plan and the development of a European Strategy for GEO.’