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Observing Systems Council (OSC)

Terms of Reference

Observing Systems Council

The Ocean Observing and Monitoring Division (hereafter referred to as “OOMD”) sits under NOAA/OAR’s Climate Program Office (CPO).OOMD’s mission is to provide high-quality long term global observations, climate information, and products to researchers, forecasters, and other users to inform and prepare society for environmental challenges

The Observing Systems Council (hereafter referred to as “The Council”) is established to provide individual comments on OOMD science opportunities and strategies (hereafter referred to as “the Program”) concerning contributions to, and development of, the international global climate observing system; and concerning effective ways for the Program to respond to the long-term observational requirements of international and national research programs, forecast centers, and major scientific assessments. The Council generally meets twice a year (in person and via teleconferences) to permit its individual members to:

  • Exchange information about the Program in the context of NOAA’s overarching mission requirements, of other national and international requirements, and of other national and international contributions to the global climate observing system;
  • Exchange information about the Program accomplishments and advances in developing, sustaining and integrating the global climate observation system, and provide individual comment on future plans of specific observing system Program elements and activities;
  • Provide individual comment to the Program on priorities for sustaining and enhancing components of the global climate observing system;
  • Provide individual comment on current and future capabilities of the observing community and on future Program risks and opportunities;
  • Provide individual comments to the Program on the balance of activities, potential efficiencies and synergy across its activities; discuss realignment of activities; and discuss entirely new activity areas, as appropriate, to satisfy the evolving requirements for ocean observations and information;
  • Provide individual comment on strategic opportunities, coordination, and engagement of the program with its parent organizations (e.g. CPO, OAR), other programs within NOAA, and other agencies and programs.
  • Provide individual comment to the Program on its strategy for data management, including meeting lifecycle data management requirements as documented by the NOAA Environmental Data Management Committee (EDMC) Procedural Directives, the NOAA Plan for “Increasing Public Access to Research Results (PARR)”, and other related NOAA data management policies.
  • Allow individuals to comment on Program outreach, communications, and management activities;
  • Exchange information aboutnational and international needs and activities and their implications;
  • Provide a forum for information exchange and comments from individuals from national and international programs and activities requiring, integrating, and/or contributing to the implementation of the global climate observing system.

At no time will the Council provide consensus advice to NOAA.Its role will be strictly limited to exchanging information and creating a forum for the provision of individual advice.The meetings of the OSC will be announced on the OOM website and in the Federal Register.The meetings minutes will be available upon request.


The Council is comprised of representatives from the ocean observing and monitoring community as well as users of the system, both internal and external to NOAA


Members will be selected and serve at the pleasure of OOM Division Chief with formal invitation by the Climate Program Office (CPO) Director. The will consult with the OOMD Director, CPO Director, and Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric (OAR) Assistant Administrator. A chair will be identified by the Program in consultation with OSC members.

Conflicts of Interest:

At no time will a Council Member provide individual advice about an activity for which he/she receives OOMD funds.


Council members shall not be compensated for their time spent on Council activities; but eligible members will be reimbursed for allowable travel and incidental costs associated with Council meetings and activities as permitted under 5 U.S.C5703 et seq.

Current Membership



Greg Johnson-co-chair

NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Lab

Molly Baringer-co-chair

NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meterological Lab

Robert Weller

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Kevin Trenberth


Martin Visbeck

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

Eric Lindstrom


Gabe Vecchi

Princeton University

Arun Kumar


Sarah Gille

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Contact the OOMD Division Chief
Contact OCO

Dr. James Todd
Program Manager, OceanSITES 
P: 301-734-1258
F: 301-427-0033

Dr. Sid Thurston
Program Manager of International Development
P: 301-427-2459
F: 301-427-0033

Tony Perry III LCDR
P: 301-427-2465

Dr. Kathy Tedesco (UCAR)
Program Manager, 
Ocean Climate Observations
P: 301-427-2462

Dr. Emily Smith
Program Manager, GLOSS and Communications Specialist
P: 301-427-2463

Dr. Shelby Brunner*
P: 301-427-2473

Contact Arctic Research


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