British Oceanographic Data Centre

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British Oceanographic Data Centre
British Oceanographic Data Centre
Formation 1969
Dr Juan Brown
Parent organization
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

The British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) is a national facility for looking after and distributing data about the marine environment. BODC deal with a range of physical, chemical and biological data, which help scientists provide answers to both local questions (such as the likelihood of coastal flooding) and global issues (such as the impact of climate change). BODC is the designated marine science data centre for the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The centre provides a resource for science, education and industry, as well as the general public. BODC is hosted by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Liverpool.

Approach and goals[edit]

BODC's approach to marine data management involves:

  • Working alongside scientists during marine research projects
  • Distributing data to scientists, education, industry and the public and improving online access to marine data
  • Careful storage, quality control and archiving of data so they are unaffected by changes in technology and will be available into the future
  • Producing innovative marine data products and digital atlases
Bidston Observatory, home of BODC from 1975 to 2004.
Joseph Proudman Building, Liverpool.


The origins of BODC go back to 1969 when NERC created the British Oceanographic Data Service (BODS). Located at the National Institute of Oceanography, Wormley in Surrey, its purpose was to:

In 1975 BODS was transferred to Bidston Observatory on the Wirral, near Liverpool, as part of the newly formed Institute of Oceanographic Sciences. The following year BODS became the Marine Information and Advisory Service (MIAS)[1]. Its primary activity was to manage the data collected from weather ships, oil rigs and data buoys. The data banking component of MIAS was restructured to form BODC in April 1989. Its mission was to 'operate as a world-class data centre in support of UK marine science'. BODC pioneered a start to finish approach to marine data management. This involved:

  • Assisting in the collection of data at sea
  • Quality control of data
  • Assembling the data for use by the scientists
  • The publication of data sets on CD-ROM

In December 2004, BODC moved to the purpose built Joseph Proudman Building on the campus of the University of Liverpool.

National role[edit]

BODC current meter data holdings from around the UK.

BODC has a range of national roles and responsibilities:

International role[edit]

BODC also has a range of international roles and responsibilities, for example:

Projects and initiatives[edit]

BODC is and has been involved with a wide range of national and international projects, including:

Servicing of a RAPID mooring.
  • Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT)
The AMT programme [3] undertook a twice yearly transect between the UK and the Falkland Islands to study the factors determining the ecological and biogeochemical variability in the planktonic ecosystems.
  • Autosub Under Ice (AUI)
The AUI programme [4] investigated the role of sub-ice shelf processes in the climate system. The marine environment beneath floating ice shelves will be explored using Autosub
  • Enabling Parameter Discovery (EnParDis)
EnParDis [5] was a project to develop BODC's Parameter Dictionary. Parameter dictionaries are used to label data with a standard description and are crucial when searching out and exchanging data
  • Liverpool - East Anglia Coastal Study 2 (LEACOAST2)
The LEACOAST2 project [6] follows the LEACOAST project (2002 - 2005) in studying sediment transport around the sea defences at Sea Palling, Norfolk, UK
  • Marine Productivity (MarProd)
MarProd [7] helped to develop coupled models and observation systems for the pelagic ecosystem, with emphasis on the physical factors affecting zooplankton dynamics
  • NERC DataGrid
The challenge for NERC DataGrid [8] was to build an e-grid which makes data discovery, delivery and use much easier than it is now
  • Rapid Climate Change (RAPID)
The RAPID programme [9] aimed to improve understanding of the causes of sudden changes in the Earth's climate
  • Ocean Margin Exchange (OMEX)
The OMEX project [10] studied, measured and modelled the physical, chemical and biological processes and fluxes at the ocean margin - the interface between the open Atlantic ocean and the European continental shelf
  • SeaDataNet
SeaDataNet [11] aims to develop a standardised, distributed system which provides transparent access to marine data sets and data products from countries in and around Europe. It will build on the work already completed by the SEA-SEARCH [12] and EDIOS [13] projects
  • System of Industry Metocean data for the Offshore and Research Communities (SIMORC)
SIMORC [14] aimed to create a central index and database of metocean data sets collected globally by the oil and gas industry

External links[edit]

External partner pages

External project pages

Coordinates: 53°24′27.5″N 2°58′8.2″W / 53.407639°N 2.968944°W / 53.407639; -2.968944