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Standards Spotlight

Views of Real-World Impact

ANSI shines a spotlight on Standards in action as they support safety, efficiency and well-being in interesting aspects of everyday life.


Deep Diving for Standards


There is nothing that can make us feel like small fish in a big pond quite like the ocean. Covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface, Earth’s oceans contain an estimated 50-80% of all life on Earth. While the four oceans (Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific) are already on our radars, on June 8, World Oceans Day, National Geographic moved to recognize a fifth ocean, the Southern Ocean, once considered part of the Pacific Ocean.

Humanity feels the effects the ocean has on Earth’s weather patterns every single day. Ocean water evaporates causing temperatures to rise and precipitation to fall. Tropical storms form over the ocean and make their way to land, sometimes as a destructive force. Therefore, the ocean’s properties must be monitored, as slight changes in the water may translate into a weather event on land. ISO 21851:2020, Marine Technology - Ocean Observation Systems - Design Criteria Of Ocean Hydro-Meteorological Observation Systems Reuse And Interaction, specifies the overall framework of ocean hydro-meteorological observation systems, including the system function composition, the data structure type and data transmission format and protocol, as well as the input and output interface. These systems support automatic measurement of buoy, submersible and shore station instruments, with output interfaces, and provide observations on water temperature, salinity, depth, current, ocean wave, temperature, pressure, humidity, wind, visibility, and precipitation. After measuring these properties, these systems have the ability to receive, store, display, process, and analyze data. The international standard is intended for both developers of ocean observation systems and ocean observers. ISO 21851 was developed by the International Organization for Standardization's Technical Committee 8, Ships and Marine Technology, Subcommittee 13, Marine Technology, (TC 8/SC 13), of which the U.S. is a participating member. The United States Coast Guard administers the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to TC 8/SC 13. ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO.

The ocean still inspires a sense of wonder and awe in us, especially since an estimated 80% of the ocean is unexplored. There is always something new to discover, and on average, around 2,000 new species of ocean life are discovered every year. Not all of us are marine biologists combing the ocean, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn about marine life. Aquariums are a great place to see and learn about aquatic life. For those aquariums by the ocean, ocean water can be cleaned and directly pumped in, but for aquariums further inland, that can be more challenging. Many aquariums now use synthetic saltwater, rather than pumping water directly from the ocean. ASTM D1141-98(2013), Standard Practice For The Preparation Of Substitute Ocean Water, covers the preparation of solutions containing inorganic salts in proportions and concentrations representative of ocean water. One property of water is that different things can dissolve into water, which can potentially be toxic to the living organisms in the water. ASTM D6903-07(2020), Standard Test Method For Determination Of Organic Biocide Release Rate From Antifouling Coatings In Substitute Ocean Water, covers the laboratory determination of the rate at which organic biocide is released from an antifouling coating exposed in substitute ocean water. ASTM International, an ANSI audited designator, developed both standards.

The ocean is a vast frontier and remains for us land-dwelling creatures a mystery and subject of our deepest fantasies, inspiring many poems, stories, and lore about what lies beneath its dark surface. As we continue to explore its depths and the impact it has on our lives, new standards will undoubtedly follow.