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The Global Temperature and Salinity Profile Programme (GTSPP) is a cooperative international program to develop and maintain a global ocean Temperature-Salinity resource with data that are both up-to-date and of the highest quality. It is a joint World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) program.

The GTSPP was developed as a response to the changing needs in the ocean science and marine operational communities. Scientists conducting research into oceanic and atmospheric processes are addressing global issues and need multi-disciplinary data sets for their experiments. The operational community needs more data in operational time frames to conduct safe operations at sea. Both the scientific and operational communities are applying the knowledge of ocean processes gained in four decades of research. Data are being assimilated into models making predictions addressing sustainable development, climate change, and human and environmental safety.

As a result of these needs, data collection programmes are more complex and produce significantly large volumes of data. The quality control problem is more difficult because of the increased volume of complexity of the data. Improved means of high-speed data communications and the WWW in international data management, data and improved data and information products need to be available more quickly than in the past.

The international oceanographic community's interest in creating a timely global ocean temperature and salinity dataset of known quality in support of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) led to preliminary discussions by the Australian Oceanographic Data Center (AODC), the Marine Environmental Data Service (MEDS), now the Integrated Science Data Management (ISDM), of Canada and the U.S. National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), now the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

In January 1989, NODC hosted an ad-hoc consultative meeting on the Global Temperature-Salinity Pilot Project at Washington D.C. It was agreed by the GTSPP participants that within the GTSPP, ISDM would assume primary responsibility for management of the real-time (i.e., IGOSS) data stream and NODC would assume primary responsibility for incorporating delayed-mode (i.e., IODE) data into, and continuously maintaining, the GTSPP data base.

IGOSS is an abbreviation of Integrated Global Ocean Services System. IGOSS is now being encompassed within the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology

Development of the GTSPP (then called the Global Temperature-Salinity Pilot Project) began in 1989. GTSPP began operation in November 1990. The first version of the GTSPP Project Plan was published in the same year. Since that time, there have been many developments and some changes in direction including a decision by IOC and WMO to end the pilot phase and implement GTSPP as a permanent programme in 1996.