The Importance of Sustaining Oceanographic Biogeochemical Time-Series Programs
Time-series are critical in differentiating between natural climate variability and changes induced by anthropogenic forcing. It has been suggested that, to discern shifts resulting from climate change, regular observations of ›20 years are needed. While the number of ship-based sites seems impressive, many ecosystems are not being sampled. The cost of maintaining sites is a significant factor in the success of a time-series, and even well-established sites, such as CARIACO, CalCOFI, ESTOC, DYFAMED, Station P, BATS and HOT, face uncertain funding futures. To ensure the continuation of time-series, it is increasingly important that their scientific objectives be linked to benefits that their data can offer to society. Initiatives, such as the Global Ocean Observing System, will help define and integrate observations, data analysis, and modeling of the ocean. By pooling together time-series data from around the world, as the IGMETS effort is currently doing, it will be possible to assess changing biogeochemistry and ecosystem dynamics at regional and global scales, and to predict how future climatic conditions may affect important resources. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of some of the necessary elements needed for maintaining a ship-based, biogeochemical time-series. We will also discuss some of the remarkable scientific discoveries derived by using time-series facilities around the world.