Observing the ocean provides the most direct oceanographic data, such as temperature, salinity, currents, sea surface topography, waves, colour, turbulence and nutrients. Feeding data into integrative models could generate information products which portray the present state of the oceans, forcast the future condition of the sea for socio-economic benefit. Such information is increasingly needed by nations to manage their ocean areas, exploit its resources, mitigate the impact of natural hazards and improve climate forecasting.
To describe the ocean more accurately and deliver useful management tools and products, more observational data are needed on weekly/monthly basis through many different platforms, such as satellites, research ships, drifting buoys, moorings.
Since 1990, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO has been tasked by the international community to co-ordinate the planning, implementation , and on-going development of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) which is a permanent global system for observations, modelling and analysis of marine and ocean variables to support operational ocean services worldwide.
To contribute to the Global Ocean Observing System, IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific have been developing two regional ocean observing systems in the North East Asian and South East Asian region, namely North East Asian- Global Ocean Observing System (NEAR-GOOS) since 1990 and South East Asian-Global Ocean Observing System (SEAGOOS) since 2002.