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Enhancing the observing capacity for the surface ocean by the use of Volunteer Observing Ship


Knowledge of the surface ocean dynamics and the underlying controlling mechanisms is critical to understand the natural variability of the ocean and to predict its future response to climate change. In this paper, we highlight the potential use of Volunteer Observing Ship (VOS), as carrier for automatic underway measuring system and as platform for sample collection, to enhance the observing capacity for the surface ocean. We review the concept, history, present status and future development of the VOS-based in situ surface ocean observation. The successes of various VOS projects demonstrate that, along with the rapid advancing sensor techniques, VOS is able to improve the temporal resolution and spatial coverage of the surface ocean observation in a highly cost-effective manner. A sustained and efficient marine monitoring system in the future should integrate the advantages of various observing platforms including VOS.

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Author information

Correspondence to Wei Fan.

Additional information

Foundation item: The National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract No. 41506090; the National Key Research and Development Program of China under contract No. 2016YFA0601400; the Key Laboratory of Global Change and Marine-Atmospheric Chemistry under contract No. GCMAC1408. *Corresponding author, E-mail: e]

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Jiang, Z., Yuan, J., Hartman, S.E. et al. Enhancing the observing capacity for the surface ocean by the use of Volunteer Observing Ship. Acta Oceanol. Sin. 38, 114–120 (2019).

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Key words

  • volunteer observing ship
  • ship of opportunity
  • surface ocean
  • in situ observation
  • sensor