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What a magnificent opportunity it can be for an enterprising Nation to present WOOS [World Ocean Observing System] as a gift to an environmentally distracted world?
- Henry (Hank) Stommel , US Oceanographer, 1990

The impetus for the creation of GOOS came from the IOC's Technical Committee for Ocean Processes and Climate (TC/OPC) in the late 1980s. The concept of a global ocean observing system grew from the realisation that understanding and forecasting climate change would require a long-term, multivariate ocean observing system.

In 1988 the IOC created an ad hoc expert group to prepare proposals for the development of an integrated global ocean observing system leading to a world ocean watch. In 1989 the WMO and the IOC endorsed the programme suggested by the expert group to design and implement a global operational observing system.

Hank Stommel, the free thinking oceanographer from Woods Hole, published an exciting vision of the WOOS in 1989. The idea of a WOOS was not new, but the time to implement it was at hand. See The Slocum Mission .

GOOS in its present form was created in 1991, when the TC/OPC agreed that the ocean observing system concept should be broadened to include physical, chemical and biological coastal ocean monitoring. 16th IOC Assembly established a GOOS Support Office (GSO) and the World Meteorological Organization's 11th Congress agreed to co-sponsor the GOOS.

In 1992, an Intergovernmental committee for GOOS (I-GOOS) was formed to coordinate the implementation of GOOS and to replace the TC/OPC. A GOOS Technical and Scientific Advisory Panel (later to become the GSSC) was proposed the same year, and the GOOS Project Office (GPO) was set up within the IOC. By 1998 a GOOS strategic plan and prospectus had been published.

Then in 2005 the 23rd Assembly of the IOC noted that with the advent of the proposed Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS), the GOOS should be considered as the marine component of the GEOSS.

Chronology of GOOS Meetings:

Initially, the Committee met annually, with meetings consisting alternatively of a "plenary session" and a "planning session". The planning session focused on specific aspects of GOOS implementation that required immediate action.

The first session was held at IOC in Paris, 16-19 Feb 1993. I-GOOS I Report

The first planning session was held in Melbourne, Australia, 18-21 Apr 1994.

The second session was held at IOC in Paris, 6-9 June 1995. I-GOOS II Report

The second planning session was held in Washington, DC, USA, 16-17 May 1996.

The third session was held at IOC in Paris, 25-27 June 1997. I-GOOS III Report

As from I-GOOS-III, I-GOOS plenary sessions will be held every 2 years. The planning sessions have been subsumed within the new GOOS Steering Committee which now carries the primary responsability for GOOS implementation.

The fourth session was held at IOC in Paris, from 23 to 25 June 1999, just prior to the XXth session of the IOC Assembly. The report of the session is now available on-line in .pdf format in the four working languages (English, French, Russian, Spanish).  I-GOOS IV Report

During IOC-XX, the Initial GOOS Commitments Meeting was held (5-6 July 1999)

The fifth session was held at IOC in Paris, from 28 to 30 June 2001. The report of the session is now available on-line in pdf format (English).   I-GOOS V Report

The sixth session was held at IOC in Paris, from 10 to 14 March 2003. The report of the session is now available on-line in pdf format (English).  I-GOOS VI Report

The seventh session was held at IOC in Paris, from 4 to 7 April 2005; an extraordinary session was held at IOC in Paris on 20 June 2005.The report of the seventh session together with the report of the extraordinary session are available on-line in pdf format (English). I-GOOS VII and I-GOOS ex1 Report

The eighth session of I-GOOS was held at IOC in Paris, 13-16 June 2007  I-GOOS VIII Report

The ninth session of the I-GOOS was held at IOC in Paris, 10-12 June 2009   I-GOOS IX Report

Oceans 2020 A more detailed version of the history of GOOS
(PDF - 82 KB)

Download the original resolutions forming GOOS arrow