Working Groups and Commissions

IAPSO is sponsoring/co-sponsoring Working Groups, Commissions and Services relevant to its 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."


  • Joint Committee on the Properties of Seawater (JCS)

The Joint SCOR/IAPWS/IAPSO Committee on the Properties of Seawater (JCS) is a permanent group with limited membership whose purpose is to act as an international "point of contact" for seawater questions. It is jointly sponsored by organizations directly concerned with the properties of seawater: the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam, and the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Ocean.
JCS acts as a permanent source of expertise to its parent organizations, maintains a repository of knowledge and software for the scientific community (via a web-site,, and is also a conduit for any desired communications between its parents, and out to other international organizations like the BIPM (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures), the WMO (World Meteorological Organization), and IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry). In addition, JCS may from time to time summarize progress in seawater-related issues to the community at large, and suggest areas where gaps exist in the available knowledge.

Prof. Rich Pawlowicz
Dept. of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia
Vancouver Canada
Email: rpawlowicz(at)

Vice Chairs:
Prof. Trevor McDougall
The School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia
Email: trevor.mcdougall(at)

Dr. Rainer Feistel
Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research
Rostock, Germany
Email: rainer.feistel(at)



  1. TEOS-10 manual 10jun 2010
  2. An historical perspective on the development of the Thermodynamic Equation of Seawater – 2010, Ocean Sci., 8, 161–174, 2012
  3. Report on activities at JCS workshops, Greenwich, UK Sept. 2-3, 2013
  4. JCS Update, Presentation of Trevor McDougall to the GBM, Prague June 2015
  5. Activities Report June 2015-June 2017
  • Commission on Mean Sea Level and Tides (CMSLT)

The IAPSO Commission on Mean Sea Level and Tides (CMSLT) aims to support research into applications of sea level measurements. In addition to sponsoring meetings, the CMSLT is the body that the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level formally reports to.
The CMSLT has always had a policy of considering as members any researchers who express interest in the topics of mean sea level and tides.

Prof. Gary T. Mitchum
College of Marine Science, University of South Florida
S. Petersburg, USA
Email: mitchum(at)



Annual Report 2011

  • Tsunami Commission (Joint with IASPEI and IAVCEI)

The IUGG Tsunami Commission (IUGG/TC) is an Inter-Association Commission responsible for international coordination of tsunami related meetings, research, and publications. It is jointly sponsored by IASPEI, IAPSO and IAVCEI and was established at the 12th General Assembly of IUGG in Helsinki, Finland in 1960 to promote the exchange of scientific and technical information about tsunamis.

The IUGG/TC membership comprises an international group of scientists concerned with various aspects of tsunamis, including an improved understanding of the dynamics of generation, propagation and coastal run-up and the consequences to society of the tsunami hazard.

IUGG Tsunami Commission website contains the current information about the Commission activities and upcoming meetings.

Dr. Vasily V. Titov
Chief Scientist, NOAA Center for Tsunami Research
Sand Point. USA
E-mail: Vasily.Titov(at)

Vice-Chairs: Fumihiko Imamura (Japan) and Ahmet Yalciner (Turkey)
Secretary: Phil Cummins (Australia)

IAPSO representative:
Professor Efim Pelinovsky
Department of Nonlinear Geophysical Processes, Institute of Applied Physics
Russian Academy of Sciences
Novgorod, Russia
E-mail: pelinovsky(at); epelinovskiy(at); pelinovsky(at)



  1. Activities Report 1995-1997
  2. Activities Report 1999
  3. Activities Report 2009-2011
  4. Tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea 2000 B.C.-2000 A.D., Springer, 2000
  5. Activities Report 2011-2015
  6. Activities Report 2015-2017

Permanent Services

  • Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level

The Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) is the internationally recognised global sea level data bank for long term sea level change information from tide gauges and also provides a wider Service to the sea level community.
The PSMSL was established in 1933 by Joseph Proudman who became its first Secretary. Since then, the PSMSL continues to be responsible for the collection, publication, analysis and interpretation of sea level data. It is hosted by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Liverpool with funding provided by the UK Natural Environment Research Council. PSMSL operates under the auspices of the International Council for Science (ICSU).

Dr. Lesley Rickards
Director, Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level
Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Emails: psmsl(at), ljr(at)

IAPSO Liaison:
Prof. Philip L. Woodworth (UK)
Email: plw(at)



  1. Activities Report 1991 - 1995
  2. Activities Report 1999-2003
  3. 2004 Annual Report
  4. 2006 Annual Report
  5. Activities Report 2003-2007
  6. Activities Report 2007-2011
  7. Activities Report 2011-2015
  8. Activities Report 2015-2017
  • IAPSO Standard Seawater Service

The IAPSO Standard Sea-Water Service is the only internationally recognized standard for the calibration of salinity measurement devices. Its widespread use over 100 years of IAPSO history has been of great importance to the quality and comparability of salinity data worldwide. IAPSO continues to oversee the preparation of standard sea water and to encourage its use by all laboratories involved in salinity measurement. Demand for this service
continues to grow.
Initially, the standard sea-water was prepared under the guidance of the International Council for Exploration of the Seas, Copenhagen. In the early 1970's the operation was transferred to the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences (IOS) in England. In 1989, with IAPSO's concurrence, a private company (Ocean Scientific International Limited) was set up with space and facilities provided by IOS. As a result, ampoules of standard sea-water continue to be available to the oceanographic community thorough this IAPSO service.

Dr. Richard Williams
Director, IAPSO Standard Seawater Service
Havant, United Kingdom
Email: osil(at)



  1. Activities Report 1991-1995 
  2. Activities Report 2009-2013
  3. Activities Report 2013-2017

Previously Funded

  • Commission on Groundwater Seawater Interactions

Discontinued in 2005

  1. Members
  2. Members by country
  3. Activities reports 2002
  4. Activities reports 2003
  5. Activities reports 2004
  • Commission on Sea Ice

Discontinued in 2003

  1. Activities Report 1991-1995
  2. Activities Report 1995-1999
  • IAG/ IAPSO Joint Working Group on Geodetic Effects of Nontidal Oceanic Processes (1999-2003)

Final report

with IUGG

Working Groups

Working Group on History (WGH) 

Chair: Hans Volkert (Germany)

Vice Chair: Claude Boucher (France)

IAPSO representative: John Gould (UK)


All scientists within IUGG and all historians of science with interest in geophysics are invited to contribute to WGH.


  1. Report 2015
  2. Compilation of oral histories of influential scientists in Physical Oceanography



  • Climatic and Environmental Changes (CCEC)

Chair: Tom Beer (Australia)

Secretary General: Keith Alverson (USA/Kenya)

IAPSO representative: Harry Bryden (UK)



  • Mathematical Geophysics (CMG)

Chair: Yehuda Ben Zion (USA)

Secretary General: Ilya Zaliapin (USA)

IAPSO representative: Adam Monaham (Canada)


  • Geophysical Risk and Sustainability (GRC)

Chair: Joan Marti (Spain)

Secretary General: Paula Dunbar (USA, IAPSO)

IAPSO representatives: Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade (USA and Puerto Rico, Executive Committee Member), Viacheslav Gusiakov (Russia, Advisory Board Member)



  •  Data and Information (UCDI)

Chair: Sateesh Shenoi (India, IAPSO)

Secretary: Anatoly Soloviev (Russia)

IAPSO representative: Robert M. Key (USA)



Joint with SCOR

SCOR is an organization that promotes science that comes from the "bottom up" from the ocean science community and working groups are an important vehicle to bring attention to the important ocean science issues identified by the global community of ocean scientists.

SCOR approves new working groups each year at its annual meeting. The number of proposals funded each year depends on both the results of the proposal review process and the availability of funding. In recent years, 1-3 proposals have been funded in any given year.

The timing of the proposal process depends on the timing of the annual meeting, so it is best to check the SCOR Web site and announcements from the SCOR Secretariat about the schedule in any given year.

The call for working group proposals in usually made in late January or early February each year. The call is distributed through the SCOR email list and the SCOR Newsletter. Anyone in the global ocean science community is eligible to submit a proposal and there is no limitation to individuals from nations that pay dues to SCOR.

Read more on Submitting a Proposal for a SCOR Working Group.

IAPSO co-sponsored several SCOR Working Groups in the past:

  • ad hoc IUGG/IAPSO/SCOR working group of experts on Future of the Ocean and its Seas (2015-2016)

Established in November 2015 by IUGG, IAPSO and SCOR to prepare a response to the marine science issues raised by the G7 Science Ministers in the communiqué arising from their meeting in October 2015.

Co-Chairs: Phillip Williamson (UK), Denise Smythe-Wright (UK), and Peter Burkill (UK)


  • SCOR/WCRP/IAPSO Working Group 136 Climatic Importance of the Greater Agulhas System (2009-2012)

Co-chairs: Lisa Beal (USA) and Arne Biastoch (Germany)



  1. WG Proposal
  2. 2010-2011 Annual Report
  • SCOR/IAPSO Working Group 133 OceanScope (2008-2011)

Co-Chairs: Tom Rossby (USA) and Kuh Kim (Korea)



  1. WG Proposal
  2. Final Report
  • SCOR/IAPSO Working Group 129 on Deep Ocean Exchange with the Shelf (DOES) (2006-2008)

Chair:John Johnson (UK)
Vice-Chair: Piers Chapman (USA)



  1.  Report on Workshop in Cape Town 5 - 9 October 2008
  2. WG 129 report 2011
  3. Preface WG 129 Special Issue in Ocean Science
  • SCOR/IAPSO Working Group 127 on Thermodynamics and Equation of State of Seawater (2005-2009)

Chair: Trevor McDougall (Australia)


Project Website:


  1. 2004 Conference Summary Report
  2. WG127 report 2011
  3. Information about TEOS 10
  4. TEOS 10 manual
  • SCOR/LOICZ/IAPSO Working Group 122 on Mechanisms of Sediment retention in Estuaries (2003-2005)

Co-Chairs: Gerardo Perillo (Argentina) and James Syvitski (USA)


  • IAPSO/SCOR Joint Working Group 121 on Ocean Mixing (2002-2004)

Chair: Robin D. Muench (USA)