Ocean Observation and Research Department
Global environmental change has become a worldwide concern. Global warming, caused by increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere resulting from expanding human activities, is a particularly major issue. Global temperatures stay raised since the 1990s causing abnormal weather phenomena such as abnormal heat wave and heavy rain around the world. This highly unusual weather accompanied by global warming is expected to increase and spread worldwide in the future. One of climate variability in recent years, still vivid in our memory, is the El Niño of 1997-1998. This largest El Niño in the 20 th century brought severe drought and floods across the world and had a serious impact on human lives.

Ocean observations and researchs are therefore becoming increasingly important to forecast abnormal weather and climate variability to prevent global damage. The ocean covers two-third of our planet and has a heat capacity in excess of 1000 times that of the atmosphere. In addition, the ocean dissolves CO2 50 times greater than the atmosphere. The ocean therefore holds extremely important keys to understand global environmental change.

The main objectives of the Ocean Observation and Research Department are to understand the role played by the ocean in seasonal-to-decadal climate variability, and distinguish between natural variability and anthropogenic change typified by global warming.
To achieve our goals, we conduct ship-based observations mainly by the oceanographic research vessel MIRAI over vast sea areas ranging from the North Pacific to the Arctic Ocean, and the western tropical Pacific to the eastern tropical Indian Ocean. We also promote observational studies using various research techniques including autonomous observations by mooring systems with multiple sensors and Arctic drifter, and furthermore, we actively engage in the development of the latest technologies to incorporate them into the observations and researchs.