World Ocean Database Project

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The World Ocean Database Project, or WOD, is a project established by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). The project leader is Sydney Levitus who is director of the International Council for Science (ICSU) World Data Center (WDC) for Oceanography, Silver Spring.[1] In recognition of the success of the IOC Global Oceanographic Data Archaeological and Rescue Project (GODAR project), a proposal was presented at the 16th Session of the Committee on International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE), which was held in Lisbon, Portugal, in October–November 2000, to establish the World Ocean Database Project. This project is intended to stimulate international exchange of modern oceanographic data and encourage the development of regional oceanographic databases as well as the implementation of regional quality control procedures. This new Project was endorsed by the IODE at the conclusion of the Portugal meeting, and the IOC subsequently approved this project in June 2001.

The World Ocean Database represents the world’s largest collection of ocean profile-plankton data available internationally without restriction. Data comes from the: (a) Sixty-five National Oceanographic Data Centers and nine Designated National Agencies (DNAs) (in Croatia, Finland, Georgia, Malaysia, Romania, Senegal, Sweden, Tanzania, and Ukraine), (b) International Ocean Observing Projects such as the completed World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS), as well as currently active programs such as CLIVAR and Argo, (c) International Ocean Data Management Projects such as the IOC/IODE Global Oceanographic Data Archaeology and Rescue Project (GODAR), and (d) Real-time Ocean Observing Systems such as the IOC/IODE Global Temperature-Salinity Profile Project (GTSPP). All ocean data acquired by WDC Silver Spring – USA are considered as part of the WDC archive and are freely available as public domain data.

Comparison of World Ocean Databases[edit]

The World Ocean Database was first released in 1994[2] and updates have been released approximately every four years, 1998,[3] 2001,[4] and 2005.[5] The most recent World Ocean Database series, WOD09, was released in September 2009.[6] The WOD09 has more than 9 million temperature profiles and 3.6 million salinity profiles. The table shows a comparison of the number of stations by instrument type in WOD09 with previous NODC/WDC global ocean databases.

Instrument Type NODC (1974)[7] NODC (1991)[8] WOA94 WOD98 WOD01 WOD05 WOD09
OSD [9] 425,000 783,912 1,194,407 1,373,440 2,121,042 2,258,437 2,541,298
CTD [10] na 66,450 89,000 189,555 311,943 443,953 641,845
MBT [11] 775,000 980,377 1,922,170 2,077,200 2,376,206 2,421,940 2,426,749
XBT 290,000 704,424 1,281,942 1,537,203 1,743,590 1,930,413 2,104,490
MRB na na na 107,715 297,936 445,371 566,544
DRB na na na na 50,549 108,564 121,828
PFL na na na na 22,637 168,988 547,985
UOR na na na na 37,645 46,699 88,190
APB na na na na 75,665 75,665 88,583
GLD na na na na na 338 5,857
Total Stations 1,490,000 2,535,163 4,487,519 5,285,113 7,037,213 7,900,368 9,133,369
Plankton na na na 83,650 142,900 150,250 218,695
SUR [12] na na na na 4,743 9,178 9,178

Instrument Types[edit]

Ocean profile, plankton data, and metadata are available in the World Ocean Database for 29 depth-dependent variables (physical and biochemical) and 11 instruments types: Ocean Station Data (OSD), Mechanical Bathythermograph (MBT), Expendable Bathythermograph (XBT), Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD), Undulating Oceanographic Recorder (UOR), Profiling Float (PFL), Moored Buoy (MRB), Drifting Buoy (DRB), Gliders (GLD), Autonomous Pinniped Bathythermograph (APB).

Word Ocean Database Products[edit]

The data in the World Ocean Database are made available through the online search and retrieval system known as WODselect. The World Ocean Atlas (WOAselect) series is a set of gridded (1° grid), climatological, objectively analyzed fields of the variables in the World Ocean Database. The WOAselect is a selection tool by which the user can designate a geographic area, depth, and oceanographic variable to view climatological means or related statistics for a given variable at the requested depth for the requested geographic area.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission". Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  2. ^ "World Ocean Atlas 1994 series". National Oceanographic Data Center.
  3. ^ "World Ocean Atlas 1998 series". National Oceanographic Data Center.
  4. ^ "World Ocean Atlas 2001". National Oceanographic Data Center.
  5. ^ "World Ocean Atlas 2005". National Oceanographic Data Center.
  6. ^ "World Ocean Atlas 2009". National Oceanographic Data Center.
  7. ^ Based on statistics from Levitus, S. (1982) Climatological Atlas of the World Ocean[permanent dead link], NOAA Professional Paper No. 13, pp. 191
  8. ^ Based on NODC Temperature Profile CD-ROM
  9. ^ WOD09 OSD dataset includes data from 121,763 low-resolution CTD casts and 1,489 low-resolution XCTD casts
  10. ^ WOD09 CTD dataset includes data from 5,985 high-resolution XCTD casts
  11. ^ WOD09 MBT dataset includes data from 80,325 DBT profiles and 5,659 Micro-BT profiles
  12. ^ Surface data are represented differently than profile data in WOD09 – all observations in a single cruise are combined into one “station” with zero depth, values of measured variables along with latitude, longitude, and Julian year-day to identify and locate individual sets of observations

External links[edit]