The ocean is an essential key to understand the interactions between the physical, chemical and biological processes governing the earth's system. Furthermore, to understand the dynamics of the earth's interior, it is necessary to instrument the 2/3 of the earth's surface covered by oceans. The international earth and ocean sciences community recognizes the need for long-term observatories in the oceans, at fixed locations, in order to provide optimally sampled observations of global scale processes, in real-time when appropriate, and for the long-term monitoring of time dependent processes on the regional and local scales.
In view of the above, and to take advantage of on-going efforts in several countries, the International Ocean Network (ION) was formed to foster synergies among different disciplines, and to facilitate cooperation in the development of critical elements of the observing systems, harmonization of those elements of the system that would allow shared maintenance of the observatories, development of common plans for the use of international resources (e.g. Ocean Drilling Program, Global Ocean Observing System,...), timely exchange of data, coordination of siting plans.