The 9th GOOS Regional Alliances (GRA) Forum was hosted by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, JAMSTEC, in Tokyo, from 5 to 7 August. Glenn Nolan represented EuroGOOS and is the current chair of the GRA Forum. Wide ranging updates on GOOS governance and the recently published GOOS 2030 strategy were discussed.
The Regional Alliances reported on their progress since the last GRA Forum in 2017. EuroGOOS shared its ongoing work on gathering and archiving user and system requirements taken up, among others, by the Copernicus Information System (coordinated by the European Environment Agency) and the Copernicus Marine Service. EuroGOOS furthers its engagement with the observing system funders, notably as chair of the European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) Steering Group (jointly with the European Marine Board) as is also setting up a new operations committee for EOOS. Since the last GRA Forum, EuroGOOS has welcomed three new members, now bringing together 44 oceanographic institutes, met offices and hydrographic agencies in Europe.
The Canadian CIOOS updated the meeting on the progress of its official recognition as a GRA to be finalized in the coming months. In order to boost African ocean observing activity, IOC Africa will organise a regional meeting in Egypt in October 2020. The US IOOS have adopted a new strategic plan towards meeting the ocean safety, economy, and stewardship needs of the nation. The Australian IMOS shared progress on user engagement, among others through their animal tracking network following 135 priority marine species. The AODN Portal gives access to the IMOS data and metadata. The GRAs will begin making the case to have animal tracking included as a GOOS network in the coming two years.
The Forum participants visited the Japanese Met Agency and Tsunami Warning Centre. Japan experiences up to 350 earthquakes per day, all monitored at this centre. Tsunami alerts are issued based on the severity of the earthquakes. A magnitude 6.3 quake occurred in Tokyo during the GRA meeting.
The Forum acknowledged the role of IMOS Director, Tim Moltmann, as a former chair and contributor to progress within the GRAs and welcomed Venkat Venkatesan of the National Institute of Ocean Technology, India, as the incoming chair of the GRA Forum replacing Glenn Nolan in January 2020. From April 2020, GOOS will take on new responsibilities resulting from the reorganisation at the World Meteorological Organization, WMO, including the Observations Coordination Group and the Expert Team on Ocean Forecasting.