Ocean-observing systems are needed to provide the continuous stream of data necessary to make useful model predictions of important ocean parameters. The observing systems should significantly improve numerical ocean forecasts of the marine planetary boundary layer, phenomena at the air/sea interface, ocean circulation, and ice-covered regions.
Most of the work on defining the required characteristics of the observing systems has used Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs). We have synthesized the basic philosophy of OSSEs based on a review of the atmospheric and oceanographic literature, as well as visits to important research centers [Lewis and Passi, 1991]. The primary conclusions of our investigation follow.