Operational Oceanography is like weather monitoring and forecasting for the ocean. It can provide estimates of essential ocean variables (e.g. sea level, temperature and currents) for the present and the future, as well as for the past.

Ocean observations are required in real-time and near-real-time (within a few days or minutes of collection) and sourced from various national and international programs.

Some of these services are run in an operational setting, for example the World Meteorological Organisation or the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

Others are maintained through research funding, for example Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System.

Australia’s operational ocean forecast system, operated at the Bureau of Meteorology has been developed under a partnership called BLUElink.

BLUElink is a partnership between the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, and the Royal Australian Navy.