Measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change are urgently needed; the importance of understanding the state of climate change in the oceans is rising. In monitoring environmental changes at the global scale, it is obviously vital to publish data that guarantees traceability and comparability with appropriate reference materials or certified reference materials and that is clear about its uncertainties.

In recent years we have been building our knowledge of changes within the oceans through international cooperation and collaboration, for example, by re-occupation of World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE); our findings were cited in the Fifth Assessment Report from the IPCC. To implement plans to make all measurement values used in climate change research completely SI-traceable, the General Conference on Weights and Measures has been providing advice to relevant institutions. Through measures such as promulgating the use of standard materials for nutrients, we are making progress in comparability of data, research that depends on this comparability, and R&D on standard materials.

However, the guidelines used for measurement and analysis do not seem to be keeping up with this progress. The Oceanographic Observation Guidelines published by the Japan Meteorological Agency in 1999 are relatively widely used in Japan, but their content is not always completely up-to-date and the Guidelines are now quite hard to obtain. In 2010, the WOCE Manual was revised and published as the GO-SHIP Oceanographic Observation Manual (IOCCP Report No.14, 2010), but this is principally for repeat hydrography in the open ocean; it was not intended to guide a wide range of users. There are a number of other manuals and guidelines available but some of them are only written in Japanese, whereas others are only written in English; moreover, they mix together up-to-date content and less up-to-date content.

In this context, the Oceanographic Society of Japan (JOS) has decided to set up an editorial committee for oceanographic observation guidelines, to review and collate the various existing guidelines, and to incorporate necessary revisions and fill in any gaps. We will publish Oceanographic Observation Guidelines describing the most up-to-date oceanographic observation methods and analytical techniques, and we will make these new guidelines available through the JOS website.

We intend to continuously update these guidelines so that the most up-to-date methods are always accessible. We hope that these guidelines will be used by many researchers worldwide and will contribute to the advance of oceanography.

Editor in chief
Oceanographic observation guidelines

Takeshi Kawano