Information and History

General Information on IAPSO

IAPSO is one of eight Associations of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) which in turn is constituted within the International Council for Science (ICSU). Funding for ICSU, its unions and associations, comes from member countries and their representative national agencies. Those countries which adhere to the statutes and by-laws of IUGG are Members of IAPSO.

IAPSO has the prime goal of "promoting the study of scientific problems relating to the oceans and the interactions taking places at the sea floor, coastal, and atmospheric boundaries insofar as such research is conducted by the use of mathematics, physics, and chemistry." IAPSO has addressed this goal through four fundamental objectives:

  1. Organize, sponsor, and co-sponsor formal and informal international forums permitting ready means of communication amongst ocean scientists throughout the world;
  2. Establish commissions, sub-committees, and organize commensurate workshops to encourage, stimulate, and coordinate new and advanced international research activities;
  3. Provide basic services significant to the conduct of physical oceanography, and
  4. Publish proceedings of symposia, meetings, and workshops, and fundamental references on the current state-of-the art and knowledge of physical oceanography.


These four objectives are carried out mainly through the efforts of the IAPSO Bureau (President and Secretary-General) and the world of IAPSO's commissions with advice and oversight by the IAPSO Executive Committee. As the result of these efforts, IAPSO has organized and sponsored the only continuous international forums open to physical oceanographers around the world.

IAPSO maintains formal liaison with other scientific commissions and committees. These include the ICSU's Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), and UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

The authority of IAPSO is vested in member countries and exercised collectively by their delegates while meeting during the General Assembly. The President, two Vice Presidents, Secretary General, Treasurer and Executive Board members are elected. Over the years, many internationally distinguished scientists have occupied, and continue to occupy, these offices.