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A council that includes the heads of 12 United States federal agencies involved in funding ocean research or developing ocean research policy has called for the establishment of a national integrated and sustained ocean observing system.

Officials said the system should integrate new tools to monitor changes in the oceans' physical, biological, and chemical systems with the many already-existing satellite and in situ observing elements. The system, they said, could improve long-term climate forecasts, increase understanding of long and short-term ocean phenomena, and help to answer some key questions concerning global warming.