Essential Ocean Variables

The marine environment is dynamic! Many organizations collect coastal and ocean data; but without common standards, these data sets cannot easily be shared and are not being used to their full potential. To improve ocean observing efforts, ocean science experts have identified several key variables, and agreed on a series of recommendations and best practices for each. These Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) are identified based on their importance to research, feasibility to observe, and cost to collect.

CIOOS Atlantic is part of a global effort and provides full support for all EOVs aligned with the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and is part of Canada’s commitment to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 – 2030). This effort strives to make ocean science more accessible, predictable, and engaging for all. We are also growing capacity to support emerging EOVs, such as microbes and marine debris.

All CIOOS Atlantic submissions are accompanied by metadata – or, data about the data. The metadata includes information such as time, depth, and location of the dataset. This allows for the calculation of derived variables without the need for additional measurements. Information on derived variables is available in GOOS documentation. 



Biology and Ecosystems

invertebrate abundance and distribution (*emerging)

microbe biomass and diversity (*emerging)


marine debris (*emerging)

While CIOOS Atlantic has made every effort to create an easy-to-use system for data contributors, in some instances datasets may contain variables which are only partially-supported. These variables cannot be searched or filtered via CIOOS tools, like the Data Catalogue. Instead, they are discoverable by searching for the responsible organization, the appropriate keyword, or a fully-supported variable contained within the same dataset within the search bar. 

All datasets within CIOOS Atlantic are accessible and may be downloaded. If you want to contribute your data to CIOOS Atlantic, please contact us. 

For more information, please visit our FAQ page.