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Tropical Pacific Observing System for 2020 – A Prospectus

The TPOS 2020 Project will evaluate, and where necessary change, all elements that contribute to the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS) based on a modern understanding of tropical Pacific science. The project aims for enhanced effectiveness for all stakeholders, informed by the development and requirements of the operational prediction models that are primary users of TPOS data. TPOS 2020 embraces the integration of diverse sampling technologies, with a deliberate focus on robustness and sustainability, and will deliver a legacy of improved governance, coordination and supporting arrangements.

In January 2014, NOAA and JAMSTEC, in collaboration with the Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC), convened a Review of the TPOS, through a Workshop and associated White Papers. These deliberations considered the immediate actions to address the deterioration in the observing system, as well as activities and recommendations that will lead to a more robust and sustainable system. These considerations formed the basis for initiating the TPOS 2020 project.

A TPOS 2020 Steering Committee (SC) was formed following the January 2014 Workshop, consisting of 15 members from seven nations throughout the Pacific, and spanning a wide range of scientific and engineering expertise. The SC first met in October 2014; it reaffirmed the goals set forth for TPOS 2020 and began the planning required for the successful implementation of the Project. Task Teams were appointed by the SC with the challenge of organizing activities agreed to at the Workshop.

TPOS 2020 will operate as an independent Project and work through its sponsors to ensure all dependencies and links are appropriately managed.  As such, four primary elements are included in the governance of the Project:

  • A TPOS 2020 Steering Committee responsible for oversight and coordination.
  • A Resources Forum drawn from sponsors and responsible for coordinating resources.
  • An Executive populated from the leadership of the above and responsible for reporting.
  • A Project Office focused on coordination activities supported and resourced by the sponsors.

It is through these partnerships and governance structure that TPOS 2020 will design a modern, sustained tropical Pacific observing system that meets both science and societal needs.

  • To determine the most efficient and effective observational solutions to support prediction systems for ocean, weather and climate services, and
  • To advance understanding of tropical Pacific physical and biogeochemical variability and predictability.