The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) is one of eleven regions that contribute to the national U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®). The regional observing systems work to collect, integrate, and deliver coastal and ocean observations in order to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment. The primary goal of SCCOOS is to provide the scientific data and information needed to inform decision-making and better understand the changing conditions of the coastal ocean in Southern California. SCCOOS has aligned its priorities and objectives with the focus areas designated by U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®), as identified by users and stakeholders throughout the nation.
SCCOOS brings together coastal observations in the Southern California Bight (SCB) to provide information necessary to address issues in climate change, ecosystem preservation and management, coastal water quality, maritime operations, coastal hazards and national security.
As a science-based decision support system, SCCOOS works interactively with local, state and federal agencies, resource managers, industry, policy makers, educators, scientists and the general public to provide data, models and products that advance our understanding of the current and future state of our coastal and global environment.
In December 2016, IOOS certified SCCOOS as a Regional Information Coordination Entity (RICE). Certification is a key milestone to the establishment of the full IOOS system and is mandated in the ICOOS Act. Certification means that SCCOOS is providing high-quality observations to National-level standards and extending the reach and ability of Federal programs.
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In the fall of 2002, SCCOOS began the initial design and development of a stakeholder-driven organizational development strategy to enhance and promote the organization, implementation, and application of a regional coastal ocean observing system in Southern California.
In the spring of 2005, the Senate and the House of Representatives enacted a bill called, “Coastal Ocean Observation System Integration and Implementation Act of 2005” to create an establishment of a US Coastal Ocean Observation system.
On March 30, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 into law. The Act authorizes the establishment of a National Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and codifies a governance structure within which that System will operate.
Today at the local level, SCCOOS works closely with regional and state mission agencies to develop science-based products to further their work. Representitives include public health, regional water control boards, ocean dischargers that include sewer districts and municipalities, private industry including energy producers, marine safety officers, local Navy and Coast Guard personnel, and the commercial shipping industry. SCCOOS is also a collaborative network of scientists and research teams at universities and institutions that collect and aggregate coastal ocean data to provide a single online portal for distribution. Federal funding is leveraged with existing projects with both the State Water Resources Control Board and the California State Coastal Conservancy.