At the end of the last century, methods of ocean observations were in transition. Until then, most of the scientists had received information out of the ocean via ship-based measurements. These measurements were time-consuming and expensive and only coordinated to a limited extent. While more and more satellite observations were made in the atmosphere, in the oceans the use of such technologies was and is limited to the surface only. As in the late 1990's new opportunities emerged with automated measurement techniques, in 1999, leaders of oceanographic research facilities joined forces through the Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) to better align their research in the future. This week, the group, which now has nearly 40 members in 20 countries, is gathering for its 20th meeting at the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo (OSCM) on the Cape Verde Islands. The OSCM is a research and logistics base operated by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, together with the Instituto Nacional de Desenvolvimento Pescas (INDP) of Capo Verde, jointly hosting the POGO-20 conference with more than 40 executives from marine research facilities in 20 countries.
“In recent years, POGO has set important impulses in the field of global ocean observations”, says Prof. Dr. Peter Herzig, Director of GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany. “For example, the ARGO system, which meanwhile consists of almost 4,000 profiling robots, which are continuously supplying data of the upper 2,000 meters of the world ocean. Without international cooperation and strong support from the research institutions organized in POGO, this would hardly been possible”, Herzig continues.
Technological development is now making it possible to use multidisciplinary measurement platforms that carry a variety of sensors that simultaneously collect physical, chemical and biological data. Automated and robotic systems are increasingly finding their way into marine research. These topics also form a focal point in the deliberations of the POGO Group.
At present, the chair of the POGO Group is Prof. Dr. Karen Wiltshire, Deputy Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research Bremerhaven; Germany. From 2019 Prof. Dr. Nicholas Owens, Director of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), UK will take over the chairmanship for the next two years.