There are many types of end-users of ocean and coastal observations, including data users such as scientists, ocean synthesis and forecast systems, and seasonal and long-term climate forecasts and projections, and information service users such as civil protection authorities, regulators, industry, policy makers and recreational users. Ocean and coastal observations also feed into Conventions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, as well as Assessments such as those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the World Ocean Assessment, and monitoring of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
While understanding ocean and coastal systems is important for scientists and society at large, the real value of the investment in data is the possibility that we can make better decisions based on what we observe. Ocean and coastal observations become useful if data are transformed to knowledge that forms the basis for better, or wiser decision making. Conversely, it is also important that members of society understand the contribution of ocean and coastal observations to sustainable development.