Despite numerous technological advances over the last several decades, ship-based hydrography remains the only method for obtaining high-quality, high spatial and vertical resolution measurements of a suite of physical, chemical, and biological parameters over the full water column. Ship-based hydrography is essential for documenting ocean changes throughout the water column, especially for the deep ocean below 2 km (52% of global ocean volume not sampled by profiling floats).
Global hydrographic surveys have been carried out approximately every decade since the 1970s through research programs such as GEOSECS, TTO/SAVE, WOCE / JGOFS, and CLIVAR. However, global repeat hydrography has lacked formal global organization since the end of WOCE and this has led to a lack of visibility for hydrography in the global observing system as well as a significant decrease in the number of trans-basin sections carried out by some countries. More importantly, the lack of international agreements for implementation of hydrographic sections has led to disparate data sharing policies, duplication of some sections, and sections being carried out without the full suite of core variables.
The Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) brings together scientists with interests in physical oceanography, the carbon cycle, marine biogeochemistry and ecosystems, and other users and collectors of ocean interior data, and coordinates a network of globally sustained hydrographic sections as part of the global ocean/climate observing system including physical oceanography, the carbon cycle, marine biogeochemistry and ecosystems.
GO-SHIP provides approximately decadal resolution of the changes in inventories of heat, freshwater, carbon, oxygen, nutrients and transient tracers, covering the ocean basins from coast to coast and full depth (top to bottom), with global measurements of the highest required accuracy to detect these changes. The GO-SHIP principal scientific objectives are: (1) understanding and documenting the large-scale ocean water property distributions, their changes, and drivers of those changes, and (2) addressing questions of how a future ocean will increase in dissolved inorganic carbon, become more acidified and more stratified, and experience changes in circulation and ventilation processes due to global warming and altered water cycle.
The GO-SHIP Panel was established in 2007 by the IOCCP and CLIVAR to develop a strategy for a sustained global repeat hydrography program as a contribution to the OceanObs09 Conference (September 2009) and to revise the 1994 WOCE hydrographic program manual. Based on community discussions at the OceanObs09 Conference, the Panel recommended the development of a sustained repeat hydrography program to:
GO-SHIP data are publicly available without restriction. However, to demonstrate and allow tracking of their use and impact, please acknowledge any use of GO-SHIP data in a publication or product: