Australians live, work and play in a globally connected ocean and observing the ocean is a global enterprise. Understanding the climate of southeast Australia requires ocean observations from the tropical Pacific. Managing fluctuations in the productivity of fisheries in the Great Australian Bight requires knowledge of the north Indian Ocean. A high level of international cooperation is therefore required to provide the ocean information we need as a ‘marine nation’.
Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) has been formally recognised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO as one of thirteen Regional Alliances of the Global Ocean Observing System. Every two years, the leaders of these Alliances meet to review progress and make plans for next-stage implementation of the Global Ocean Observing System. The most recent meeting was held in Heraklion, Greece, on 22-24 September 2015.
IMOS Director, Tim Moltmann, attended the meeting and has returned to Australia excited by the level of international cooperation and collaboration.
“It was a very positive meeting," says Moltmann.
"The global ocean observing community is working hard to broaden its relevance beyond ocean physics for climate, to encompass the full marine ecosystem from open-ocean to coast.
"This is challenging, but it is how we need to approach ocean observing. This is how the marine system actually works,” he says.
The IMOS Director was elected as chair of the Regional Alliance Forum for the next two years. He succeeds Zdenka Willis, Director of US-IOOS who has chaired for the last four years.
“I’m honoured to have the support of my colleagues in taking on this role and I’m very excited by the opportunity we have in front of us,” says Moltmann.
“Society has never had a greater need for ocean information and there is a well-connected global community in place to do the job,” he says.
IMOS is a national collaborative research infrastructure, funded by Australian Government through NCRIS. The NCRIS principles embodied by IMOS have undoubtedly contributed to it being so well recognised within the global ocean observing community.
"For big issues that no single institution or country can handle alone, collaboration is clearly the way to go," Moltmann concludes.