The Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology

About the OPA


The Observations Programme Area (OPA) was established by the first Session of JCOMM.


The primary objective of the JCOMM Observations Programme Area (OPA) is to implement and maintain a fully integrated ocean observing system across the entire marine meteorology and oceanographic community.

The OPA works to develop, plan and coordinate the acquisition, exchange and management of observations, involving:

  • Over 6000 volunteer vessels reporting weather and surface oceanographic conditions
  • Up to 120 volunteer vessels reporting subsurface temperature and salinity profiles
  • More than 1400 drifting buoys reporting weather and surface oceanographic conditions
  • Hundreds of moored ocean data buoys reporting weather and oceanographic conditions and multi-disciplinary time-series data
  • 10-20 volunteer vessels making radiosonde (upper air) observations at sea
  • A network of 290 tide gauge stations measuring and reporting sea level
  • Global partners such as satellite remote sensing agencies, International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project IOCCP » and the Argo programme »

It also monitors the efficiency of the overall observing system and, as necessary, recommends and coordinates changes designed to improve it. It has inherited lead responsibility for these important and well-established observational programs, which are managed by bodies that now report through JCOMM.

Additionally the programme area offers its expertise to assist other groups (e.g. GCOS, GOOS, OOPC) to specify and implement their own observational requirements.

Structure of the Observations Programme Area


Specific OPA publications can be found here: 

OPA Operating Plan (Draft)

JCOMM Observing System Implementation Goals (Draft)


Document Lists:

OPA document list - including meeting reports

JCOMM Technical Report Series (on WMO website) »


The repository of official JCOMM documents is on the WMO JCOMM Publications page  »


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