Metadata Report for BODC Series Reference Number 1056420

Metadata Summary

Data Description

Data Category CTD or STD cast
Instrument Type
Sea-Bird SBE 43 Dissolved Oxygen Sensor  dissolved gas sensors
Chelsea Technologies Group 2-pi PAR irradiance sensor  radiometers
Sea-Bird SBE 911plus CTD  CTD; water temperature sensor; salinity sensor
Sea-Bird SBE 3plus (SBE 3P) temperature sensor  water temperature sensor
Sea-Bird SBE 4C conductivity sensor  salinity sensor
Chelsea Technologies Group Aquatracka III fluorometer  fluorometers
SeaTech Light Back-Scattering Sensor  optical backscatter sensors
Instrument Mounting lowered unmanned submersible
Originating Country United Kingdom
Originator Dr Tony Bale
Originating Organization Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Processing Status banked
Online delivery of data Download available - Ocean Data View (ODV) format
Project(s) Atlantic Meridional Transect Phase2(AMT)

Data Identifiers

Originator's Identifier CTD059T
BODC Series Reference 1056420

Time Co-ordinates(UT)

Start Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 2005-06-23 12:03
End Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) -
Nominal Cycle Interval 1.0 decibars

Spatial Co-ordinates

Latitude 39.26417 N ( 39° 15.9' N )
Longitude 28.82533 W ( 28° 49.5' W )
Positional Uncertainty 0.0 to 0.01 n.miles
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Depth 2.48 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Depth 301.96 m
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Height 1236.94 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Height 1536.42 m
Sea Floor Depth 1538.9 m
Sea Floor Depth Source -
Sensor or Sampling Distribution Variable common depth - All sensors are grouped effectively at the same depth, but this depth varies significantly during the series
Sensor or Sampling Depth Datum Instantaneous - Depth measured below water line or instantaneous water body surface
Sea Floor Depth Datum Instantaneous - Depth measured below water line or instantaneous water body surface


BODC CODERankUnitsTitle
CPHLPM011Milligrams per cubic metreConcentration of chlorophyll-a {chl-a CAS 479-61-8} per unit volume of the water body [particulate >unknown phase] by in-situ chlorophyll fluorometer and manufacturer's calibration applied
CPHLPS011Milligrams per cubic metreConcentration of chlorophyll-a {chl-a CAS 479-61-8} per unit volume of the water body [particulate >unknown phase] by in-situ chlorophyll fluorometer and calibration against sample data
DOXYSC011Micromoles per litreConcentration of oxygen {O2 CAS 7782-44-7} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by Sea-Bird SBE 43 sensor and calibration against sample data
DWIRPP011Watts per square metreDownwelling 2-pi scalar irradiance as energy of electromagnetic radiation (PAR wavelengths) in the water body by 2-pi scalar radiometer
OXYSSC011PercentSaturation of oxygen {O2 CAS 7782-44-7} in the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by Sea-Bird SBE 43 sensor and calibration against sample data and computation from concentration using Benson and Krause algorithm
POTMCV011Degrees CelsiusPotential temperature of the water body by computation using UNESCO 1983 algorithm
PRESPR011DecibarsPressure (spatial co-ordinate) exerted by the water body by profiling pressure sensor and corrected to read zero at sea level
PSALCC011DimensionlessPractical salinity of the water body by CTD and computation using UNESCO 1983 algorithm and calibration against independent measurements
SIGTPR011Kilograms per cubic metreSigma-theta of the water body by CTD and computation from salinity and potential temperature using UNESCO algorithm
TEMPCU011Degrees CelsiusTemperature of the water body by CTD and NO verification against independent measurements
TURBPR011Nephelometric Turbidity UnitsTurbidity of water in the water body by in-situ optical backscatter measurement and laboratory calibration against formazin
UWIRPP011Watts per square metreUpwelling 2-pi scalar irradiance as energy of electromagnetic radiation (PAR wavelengths) in the water body by 2-pi scalar radiometer

Definition of Rank

  • Rank 1 is a one-dimensional parameter
  • Rank 2 is a two-dimensional parameter
  • Rank 0 is a one-dimensional parameter describing the second dimension of a two-dimensional parameter (e.g. bin depths for moored ADCP data)

Problem Reports

Problem Report

Beam attenuance

The transmissometer appeared to suffer from slight pressure or temperature hysteresis at depth for casts from 19 to 46. The pattern showed a minimum attenuance in the range 200-300 db and then a slight increase in value as the profile went deeper. Casts 26 and 40 appeared to be obviously affected, and users should take account of quality control flags. For casts 26 and 40 where data are binned to 1 decibar, there will be large sections of the cast where the data are null, due to the absence of good quality data for each bin.

The transmissometer has been calibrated with pure water as the reference for 100% transmission and therefore beam attenuation values in clear water should be close to 0 m-1. Chelsea Instruments advise that ALPHAtracka is calibrated at the factory at 20°C in distilled water with an electrical conductivity less than one µS cm-1 and filtered to better than 5 µm and that it is possible that the user will encounter water which is purer than that used during the calibration. Indeed the minimum attenuance values for the profiles from the stainless steel rig mounted tranmissometer were lower then 0 m-1, suggesting that the calibration procedure recommended by Sea-Bird and Chelsea Instruments may need adjusting to use deep clear oceanic water as the reference for 100% transmission. The attenuance data from the transmissometer will need further offset correction to bring them in line with recognised values. Whether this should be done for the dataset as a whole or on a cast by cast basis is for the user to decide based on their requirements. The absolute attenuation values are therefore questionable but the relative profile should be reliable except for profiles where hysteresis was a problem at depth.

AMT16 Data Quality Report


Due to the transmissometer calibration issues, many of the attenuance values were negative (beyond the range of the parameter). All negative values were flagged 'M'. This does not necessarily mean that the data are scientifically useless, just that the calibration coefficients may be slightly out. Where previous 'T' flags were overwritten, the original flagged data are available on request. The transmissometer was removed from the titanium rig on Julian Day 145 because it was providing unreliable data up until that point, so the attenuance channel has been removed from casts 2T, 4T, 5T, 7T, 9T and 12T.

Fluorescence (Chelsea Technology Group (CTG) Aquatracka MKIII fluorometer)

The nominal chlorophyll-a values have been calculated from the CTG Aquatracka MKIII fluorometer data (with manufacturer's calibration applied) from the up-cast at bottle firing and the fluorometric chlorophyll-a data from sampled bottles. The calibrations were split between the two fluorometers used on the different CTD rigs. Where samples were not supplied or too few to generate a calibration and could not be grouped with other casts, the fluorometer profiles have not been calibrated. The sampling strategy for the extracted chlorophyll-a dataset used to calibrate the fluorometer focused on the upper water column, therefore the calibration is biased towards these depths. The calibration may not be as reliable below depths ~150 m. Casts 1S, 2T, 61T, 63T, 64T, 65T and 67T have not been calibrated. The extracted chlorophyll-a dataset is available for users to derive their own calibrations should they wish.

Downwelling and upwelling sub-surface PAR irradiance

For downwelling PAR, some data points were beyond the maximum range of the parameter and so were flagged as suspect. Some data points in the upwelling PAR channel were below the minimum range of the parameter so these data points were also flagged as suspect. The PAR channels in cast 2T are constant. As this was not a deep cast past 1000 m, the sensors would not have been removed. It is likely that the sensor caps were not removed prior to the cast, as the time of the cast was solar noon.

Turner Designs Cyclops 7 fluorometer voltage (FVLTPELN)

No calibration details were provided so only the raw voltage is available. For many of the casts a constant voltage of zero was returned but these have been left in for comparison with casts where a signal was returned.

Data Access Policy

Open Data supplied by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

You must always use the following attribution statement to acknowledge the source of the information: "Contains data supplied by Natural Environment Research Council."

Narrative Documents

Sea-Bird Dissolved Oxygen Sensor SBE 43 and SBE 43F

The SBE 43 is a dissolved oxygen sensor designed for marine applications. It incorporates a high-performance Clark polarographic membrane with a pump that continuously plumbs water through it, preventing algal growth and the development of anoxic conditions when the sensor is taking measurements.

Two configurations are available: SBE 43 produces a voltage output and can be incorporated with any Sea-Bird CTD that accepts input from a 0-5 volt auxiliary sensor, while the SBE 43F produces a frequency output and can be integrated with an SBE 52-MP (Moored Profiler CTD) or used for OEM applications. The specifications below are common to both.


Housing Plastic or titanium

0.5 mil- fast response, typical for profile applications

1 mil- slower response, typical for moored applications

Depth rating

600 m (plastic) or 7000 m (titanium)

10500 m titanium housing available on request

Measurement range 120% of surface saturation
Initial accuracy 2% of saturation
Typical stability 0.5% per 1000 h

Further details can be found in the manufacturer's specification sheet.

Discovery Cruise AMT16 CTD Instrumentation for the titanium frame.

Two different CTD frames were used - a stainless steel frame and a titanium frame used for trace metal sampling. This document describes the instrumentation on the titanium frame.


The CTD unit was a Sea-Bird Electronics 911plus system, with dissolved oxygen sensor. The CTD was fitted with a transmissometer and a fluorometer. All instruments were attached to a Sea-Bird SBE 32 carousel (titanium). The table below lists more detailed information about the various sensors.

Sensor Model Serial Number Calibration Comments
Pressure transducer Digiquartz temperature compensated pressure sensor 79501 23/09/2003 -
Conductivity sensor 1 SBE 4C 2851 15/02/2005 -
Conductivity sensor 2 SBE 4C 2858 16/02/2005 -
Temperature sensor 1 SBE 3P 4380 11/02/2005 -
Temperature sensor 2 SBE 3P 4381 11/02/2005 -
Dissolved oxygen SBE 43 43B-0612 19/01/2005 -
Fluorometer Chelsea MkIII Aquatracka 88/2960/163 13/11/2002 -
PAR sensor - upwelling Chelsea PAR sensor 04 01/09/2004 Added to the rig on 25/05/2005
PAR sensor - downwelling Chelsea PAR sensor 02 01/09/2004 Added to the rig on 25/05/2005
Light scatter sensor Sea Tech Light scatter sensor 338 16/04/1997 -
Transmissometer Chelsea MkII Alphatracka 161049 03/05/2001 0.25 m path

Change of sensors during cruise: PAR sensors were removed from the rig for casts to depths greater than 500m. Chelsea Mk II Alphatracka 161049 was removed from the rig on 25/05/2005.

Sampling device

Rosette sampling system equipped with 24 x 10 l trace metal free sampling bottles (manufactured by Ocean Test Equipment Inc.).

Sea-Bird Electronics SBE 911 and SBE 917 series CTD profilers

The SBE 911 and SBE 917 series of conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) units are used to collect hydrographic profiles, including temperature, conductivity and pressure as standard. Each profiler consists of an underwater unit and deck unit or SEARAM. Auxiliary sensors, such as fluorometers, dissolved oxygen sensors and transmissometers, and carousel water samplers are commonly added to the underwater unit.

Underwater unit

The CTD underwater unit (SBE 9 or SBE 9 plus) comprises a protective cage (usually with a carousel water sampler), including a main pressure housing containing power supplies, acquisition electronics, telemetry circuitry, and a suite of modular sensors. The original SBE 9 incorporated Sea-Bird's standard modular SBE 3 temperature sensor and SBE 4 conductivity sensor, and a Paroscientific Digiquartz pressure sensor. The conductivity cell was connected to a pump-fed plastic tubing circuit that could include auxiliary sensors. Each SBE 9 unit was custom built to individual specification. The SBE 9 was replaced in 1997 by an off-the-shelf version, termed the SBE 9 plus, that incorporated the SBE 3 plus (or SBE 3P) temperature sensor, SBE 4C conductivity sensor and a Paroscientific Digiquartz pressure sensor. Sensors could be connected to a pump-fed plastic tubing circuit or stand-alone.

Temperature, conductivity and pressure sensors

The conductivity, temperature, and pressure sensors supplied with Sea-Bird CTD systems have outputs in the form of variable frequencies, which are measured using high-speed parallel counters. The resulting count totals are converted to numeric representations of the original frequencies, which bear a direct relationship to temperature, conductivity or pressure. Sampling frequencies for these sensors are typically set at 24 Hz.

The temperature sensing element is a glass-coated thermistor bead, pressure-protected inside a stainless steel tube, while the conductivity sensing element is a cylindrical, flow-through, borosilicate glass cell with three internal platinum electrodes. Thermistor resistance or conductivity cell resistance, respectively, is the controlling element in an optimized Wien Bridge oscillator circuit, which produces a frequency output that can be converted to a temperature or conductivity reading. These sensors are available with depth ratings of 6800 m (aluminium housing) or 10500 m (titanium housing). The Paroscientific Digiquartz pressure sensor comprises a quartz crystal resonator that responds to pressure-induced stress, and temperature is measured for thermal compensation of the calculated pressure.

Additional sensors

Optional sensors for dissolved oxygen, pH, light transmission, fluorescence and others do not require the very high levels of resolution needed in the primary CTD channels, nor do these sensors generally offer variable frequency outputs. Accordingly, signals from the auxiliary sensors are acquired using a conventional voltage-input multiplexed A/D converter (optional). Some Sea-Bird CTDs use a strain gauge pressure sensor (Senso-Metrics) in which case their pressure output data is in the same form as that from the auxiliary sensors as described above.

Deck unit or SEARAM

Each underwater unit is connected to a power supply and data logging system: the SBE 11 (or SBE 11 plus) deck unit allows real-time interfacing between the deck and the underwater unit via a conductive wire, while the submersible SBE 17 (or SBE 17 plus) SEARAM plugs directly into the underwater unit and data are downloaded on recovery of the CTD. The combination of SBE 9 and SBE 17 or SBE 11 are termed SBE 917 or SBE 911, respectively, while the combinations of SBE 9 plus and SBE 17 plus or SBE 11 plus are termed SBE 917 plus or SBE 911 plus.


Specifications for the SBE 9 plus underwater unit are listed below:

Parameter Range Initial accuracy Resolution at 24 Hz Response time
Temperature -5 to 35°C 0.001°C 0.0002°C 0.065 sec
Conductivity 0 to 7 S m-1 0.0003 S m-1 0.00004 S m-1 0.065 sec (pumped)
Pressure 0 to full scale (1400, 2000, 4200, 6800 or 10500 m) 0.015% of full scale 0.001% of full scale 0.015 sec

Further details can be found in the manufacturer's specification sheet.

Chelsea Technologies Group Aquatracka MKIII fluorometer

The Chelsea Technologies Group Aquatracka MKIII is a logarithmic response fluorometer. Filters are available to enable the instrument to measure chlorophyll, rhodamine, fluorescein and turbidity.

It uses a pulsed (5.5 Hz) xenon light source discharging along two signal paths to eliminate variations in the flashlamp intensity. The reference path measures the intensity of the light source whilst the signal path measures the intensity of the light emitted from the specimen under test. The reference signal and the emitted light signals are then applied to a ratiometric circuit. In this circuit, the ratio of returned signal to reference signal is computed and scaled logarithmically to achieve a wide dynamic range. The logarithmic conversion accuracy is maintained at better than one percent of the reading over the full output range of the instrument.

Two variants of the instrument are available, both manufactured in titanium, capable of operating in depths from shallow water down to 2000 m and 6000 m respectively. The optical characteristics of the instrument in its different detection modes are visible below:

Excitation Chlorophyll a Rhodamine Fluorescein Turbidity
Wavelength (nm) 430 500 485 440*
Bandwidth (nm) 105 70 22 80*
Emission Chlorophyll a Rhodamine Fluorescein Turbidity
Wavelength (nm) 685 590 530 440*
Bandwidth (nm) 30 45 30 80*

* The wavelengths for the turbidity filters are customer selectable but must be in the range 400 to 700 nm. The same wavelength is used in the excitation path and the emission path.

The instrument measures chlorophyll a, rhodamine and fluorescein with a concentration range of 0.01 µg l-1 to 100 µg l-1. The concentration range for turbidity is 0.01 to 100 FTU (other wavelengths are available on request).

The instrument accuracy is ± 0.02 µg l-1 (or ± 3% of the reading, whichever is greater) for chlorophyll a, rhodamine and fluorescein. The accuracy for turbidity, over a 0 - 10 FTU range, is ± 0.02 FTU (or ± 3% of the reading, whichever is greater).

Further details are available from the Aquatracka MKIII specification sheet.

Chelsea Technologies Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) Irradiance Sensor

This sensor was originally designed to assist the study of marine photosynthesis. With the use of logarithmic amplication, the sensor covers a range of 6 orders of magnitude, which avoids setting up the sensor range for the expected signal level for different ambient conditions.

The sensor consists of a hollow PTFE 2-pi collector supported by a clear acetal dome diverting light to a filter and photodiode from which a cosine response is obtained. The sensor can be used in moorings, profiling or deployed in towed vehicles and can measure both upwelling and downwelling light.


Operation depth 1000 m
Range 2000 to 0.002 µE m-2 s-1
Angular Detection Range ± 130° from normal incidence
Relative Spectral Sensitivity

flat to ± 3% from 450 to 700 nm

down 8% of 400 nm and 36% at 350 nm

Further details can be found in the manufacturer's specification sheet.

Sea Tech Light Back-Scatter sensor

The instrument projects light into the sample volume using two modulated 880 nm Light Emitting Diodes. Light back-scattered from the suspended particles inthe water column is measured with a solar-blind silicon detector. A light stop between the light source and the light detector prevents the measurement of direct transmitted light so that only back-scattered light from suspended particles in water are measured.

The sensor has two ranges permitting the user to measure nearly all suspended particle concentrations found in open ocean or coastal waters. Range for the measurement of suspended particle concentration in water will be approximately 10 mg l-1 if High_Gain is selected. If Low-Gain is selected full scale will be a factor of 3.3 higher or approximately 33 mg l-1.


Range ~10 mg l-1 on High-Gain, ~33 mg l-1 on Low-Gain
Resolution 0.01% of full scale, ~ 1 µg l-1
Sensor Output 0-5 VDC
Time Constant <0.1 second
Power 9 to 28 VDC @ ~22 ma
Sensor Turn on Time ~1 second
Temperature Stability ~0.5%, 0-50 °C
Depth 6000 m
Size 3.2 cm Diameter, 14 cm length
Weight 0.26 kg in air, 0.13 kg in water
Material ABS Plastic housing filled with epoxy, clear epoxy optical windows

Further details can be found in the manufacturer's specification sheet.

Discovery Cruise AMT16 CTD Processing

Sampling strategy

A total of 67 successful CTD casts were made during the cruise, 34 casts used the stainless steel rig and 33 used the titanium rig. Rosette bottles were fired throughout the water column on the upcast of most profiles. Data were measured at 24 Hz by a PC running SEASAVE, Sea-Bird's data acquisition software. The raw data files were supplied to BODC after the cruise.

Originator's processing

Only a subset of files had been partially processed on board during the cruise. The raw data were therefore reprocessed at BODC to produce a homogeneous set of CTD data files for this cruise.

BODC post-processing and screening

BODC used the latest version of the SeaBird Processing software available at the time to process the raw binary data files (DAT files) based on information held in the sensor configuration files (CON files), and bottle firing files (BL).

Field Calibrations

Project Information

The Atlantic Meridional Transect - Phase 2 (2002-2006)

Who was involved in the project?

The Atlantic Meridional Transect Phase 2 was designed by and implemented by a number of UK research centres and universities. The programme was hosted by Plymouth Marine Laboratory in collaboration with the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. The universities involved were:

What was the project about?

AMT began in 1995, with scientific aims to assess mesoscale to basin scale phytoplankton processes, the functional interpretation of bio-optical signatures and the seasonal, regional and latitudinal variations in mesozooplankton dynamics. In 2002, when the programme restarted, the scientific aims were broadened to address a suite of cross-disciplinary questions concerning ocean plankton ecology and biogeochemistry and the links to atmospheric processes.

The objectives included the determination of:

The data were collected with the aim of being distributed for use in the development of models to describe the interactions between the global climate system and ocean biogeochemistry.

When was the project active?

The second phase of funding allowed the project to continue for the period 2002 to 2006 and consisted of six research cruises. The first phase of the AMT programme ran from 1995 to 2000.

Brief summary of the project fieldwork/data

The fieldwork on the first three cruises was carried out along transects from the UK to the Falkland Islands in September and from the Falkland Islands to the UK in April. The last three cruises followed a cruise track between the UK and South Africa, only deviating from the traditional transect in the southern hemisphere. During this phase the research cruises sampled further into the centre of the North and South Atlantic Ocean and also along the north-west coast of Africa where upwelled nutrient rich water is known to provide a significant source of climatically important gases.

Who funded the project?

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Data Activity or Cruise Information


Cruise Name D294 (AMT16)
Departure Date 2005-05-20
Arrival Date 2005-06-29
Principal Scientist(s)Tony Bale (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)
Ship RRS Discovery

Complete Cruise Metadata Report is available here

Fixed Station Information

No Fixed Station Information held for the Series

BODC Quality Control Flags

The following single character qualifying flags may be associated with one or more individual parameters with a data cycle:

Flag Description
Blank Unqualified
< Below detection limit
> In excess of quoted value
A Taxonomic flag for affinis (aff.)
B Beginning of CTD Down/Up Cast
C Taxonomic flag for confer (cf.)
D Thermometric depth
E End of CTD Down/Up Cast
G Non-taxonomic biological characteristic uncertainty
H Extrapolated value
I Taxonomic flag for single species (sp.)
K Improbable value - unknown quality control source
L Improbable value - originator's quality control
M Improbable value - BODC quality control
N Null value
O Improbable value - user quality control
P Trace/calm
Q Indeterminate
R Replacement value
S Estimated value
T Interpolated value
U Uncalibrated
W Control value
X Excessive difference

SeaDataNet Quality Control Flags

The following single character qualifying flags may be associated with one or more individual parameters with a data cycle:

Flag Description
0 no quality control
1 good value
2 probably good value
3 probably bad value
4 bad value
5 changed value
6 value below detection
7 value in excess
8 interpolated value
9 missing value
A value phenomenon uncertain
Q value below limit of quantification