JCOMM Observations Programme Support centre

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Terms of Reference
(As approved by JCOMM-5)

Under the overall guidance of the JCOMM Observations Coordination Group (OCG) and following the direction of

- The Data Buoy Cooperation Panel,

- The Ship Observations Team,

- The Argo Steering Team,

- The OceanSITES Science Team,

- The Global Sea Level Observing System Group of Experts,

- The Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Programme Committee,

- The OceanGliders Steering Team,

- Other ocean observing network steering bodies coordinated by the JCOMM OCG (e.g. animal borne instruments, global high frequency radar network, polar and other regional/coastal observing systems), and

Under the lead administrative supervision of the WMO Secretariat consulting with the IOC of UNESCO Secretariat, and executing the Work Plan provided by the OCG and relevant panels, and associated programmes,

The JCOMM in situ Observations Programme Support Centre (JCOMMOPS) shall support the implementation of an integrated framework for the ocean observing networks as promoted by the OCG.

Under the currently established “vision”, JCOMMOPS will undertake 1) assistance for implementation/deployment; 2) mechanisms for exchange of data/metadata; 3) develop observation system monitoring tools.


1. Implementation/deployment:

(a) Act as a focal point and assist in implementation, deployment and coordination of the oceanographic and marine meteorological observing networks by clarifying and assisting in resolving technical issues between platform operators, data centres, manufacturers and satellite data telecommunication providers;

(b) Assist in demonstrating the scientific value of global ocean observing programmes in support of WMO and UNESCO/IOC Programmes and co-sponsored Programmes by compiling materials and assisting ocean observation science teams as appropriate;

(c) Maintain an operational awareness, and where feasible, share observing platform deployment planning and servicing opportunities and operator contact information, to maximize deployment opportunities and sharing of resources;

(d) Encourage cooperation to develop synergies between relevant actors and to promote the observing system/networks;

(e) Contribute towards capacity development, educational and outreach initiatives fostering the participation of Members/Members States in the implementation of marine/ocean observing networks;

(f) Implement and maintain the observing platform deployment notification procedures required by IOC Resolutions XX-6 and EC-XLI.4

2. Support consistency and mechanisms for exchange of data/metadata:

(a) To assist in instrument and data management standardization through supporting the collection and distribution of information on current and best practices from OCG networks, and monitoring information in metadata;

(b) Facilitate free and unrestricted data and metadata exchange in real time, by providing appropriate technical assistance to platform operators, and serving as a collection and distribution point for selected platform/instrument metadata and as a source of information on other metadata and data distribution services;

(c) Promote integrated access to data and metadata through close cooperation with the US NOAA Observing System Monitoring Centre and the JCOMM Data Management Programme Area;

(d) Promote the flow of data and metadata to archiving centres, and facilitate routine provision of WMO Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS) metadata to the Observing System Capability Analysis and Review tool (OSCAR);

(e) Allocate unique identifiers to all observing platforms registered at JCOMMOPS, including in particular when delegated authority to issue WIGOS identifiers on behalf of WMO Members;

3. Develop observation system monitoring tools:

(a) Routinely collect and distribute information on: (i) the performance of the observing system networks relative to targets, (ii) attributes of platform, instrumentation, and telecommunication systems, and (iii) functional status of and data quality from individual observing platforms;

(b) Develop a consistent set of tools needed to monitor the status of the observing system and its attendant data and metadata distribution, so as to identify areas to improve the overall transparency, effectiveness and development of the system;

(c) Develop and maintain performance measures for each observing network and provide an integrated perspective. Publish regularly a “JCOMM Observations Report Card” to inform as appropriate Member/Member States on the status and benefits of the observing system;


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