Based on the scientific rationale and gaps in understanding, the Southern Ocean research community has identified 6 overarching challenges (Themes). The observing system that is being designed by SOOS will ensure the data required to address these challenges is being provided to the community.
- Theme 1: The role of the Southern Ocean in the planet's heat and freshwater balance
- Theme 2: The stability of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation
- Theme 3: The role of the ocean in the stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and its future contribution to sea-level rise
- Theme 4: The future and consequences of Southern Ocean carbon uptake
- Theme 5: The future of Antarctic sea ice
- Theme 6: Impacts of global change on Southern Ocean ecosystems