Climate Linked Atlantic Sector Science

[from Deep-Sea Life Vol 13]

Climate Linked Atlantic Sector Science: a UK programme for sustained deep ocean observations, models and technology development

Penny Holliday

CLASS Science Coordinator, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK

Five UK marine science research centres have come together to develop a unique programme that integrates decadal-length deep ocean time series with model and technology development.

CLASS (Climate Linked Atlantic Sector Science, is a NERC National Capability programme delivered in partnership by the National Oceanography Centre (, the Scottish Association for Marine Science (, the Sea Mammal Research Unit (, and the Marine Biological Association (

The overall objective of this 5-year programme is to deliver the knowledge and understanding of the Atlantic Ocean system that society needs to make  evidence-based decisions regarding ocean management.

CLASS supports some of the UK’s most exciting physical, chemical and biological observation networks that have been in existence for decades, including the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey (, the Porcupine Abyssal Plain Observatory (, the Ellett Array (formerly the Extended Ellett Line,, the Atlantic Meridional Transect ( and the South Atlantic Tide Gauge network ( The extraordinary achievement of keeping these programmes going through tough funding renewal cycles, continues to reward the effort and investment as they reveal more world-leading scientific discoveries.

CLASS will translate some of that new insight into improvements in ocean, climate and earth systems models, leading to improved skill in short and long-term predictions.  Skillful predictions are, of course, key to evidence-based policy decision-making.

This programme makes use of the old, but is also looking forward to the new.  We have an exciting focus on next-generation platforms, sensors and samplers to enhance our existing networks and methodology.  The ability to deploy low-cost, low-power and highly accurate sensors on autonomous vehicles will enable us to enhance present-day networks to obtain the observations of the Essential Ocean Variables and Essential Biology Variables ( where and when we need them.

For more information about the CLASS programme, including how you could take part in our fieldwork programme or visit one of research centres, visit

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