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The history of the definition of salinity and the methods of computing It are traced from the beginning of the twentieth century until the present. Difficulties that have arisen in existing practices are discussed, in particular, the situation regarding reduction of in-situ CTD observations. The Practical Salinity Scale 1978 is an attempt to remove the shortcomings; it has been recommended for international acceptance. The basis for this new scale is an equation relating the ratio of the electrical conductivity of the seawater sample to that of a standard potassium chloride solution (KCI) at C atmospheric pressure. The samples used were prepared from standard seawater diluted with distilled water or evaporated by weight. Finally, the set of new equations for CTD data reduction is given, based upon the work of authors whose papers are appearing elsewhere in this volume.