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Metadata Report for BODC Series Reference Number 1088711

Metadata Summary

Data Description

Data Category CTD or STD cast
Instrument Type
Sea-Bird SBE 911plus CTD  CTD; water temperature sensor; salinity sensor
Paroscientific 410K Pressure Transducer  water temperature sensor; water pressure sensors
Sea-Bird SBE 3plus (SBE 3P) temperature sensor  water temperature sensor
Sea-Bird SBE 4C conductivity sensor  salinity sensor
Instrument Mounting lowered unmanned submersible
Originating Country United Kingdom
Originator Dr Jean-Baptiste Sallee
Originating Organization British Antarctic Survey
Processing Status banked
Online delivery of data Download available - Ocean Data View (ODV) format
Project(s) DIMES

Data Identifiers

Originator's Identifier JC054_5
BODC Series Reference 1088711

Time Co-ordinates(UT)

Start Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 2010-12-09 01:49
End Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 2010-12-09 03:23
Nominal Cycle Interval 2.0 decibars

Spatial Co-ordinates

Latitude 56.07387 S ( 56° 4.4' S )
Longitude 57.90629 W ( 57° 54.4' W )
Positional Uncertainty Unspecified
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Depth 0.99 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Depth 3935.3 m
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Height 264.7 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Height 4199.01 m
Sea Floor Depth 4200.0 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 Approximate - Depth is only approximate


BODC CODERankUnitsTitle
ACYCAA011DimensionlessSequence number
POTMCV011Degrees CelsiusPotential temperature of the water body by computation using UNESCO 1983 algorithm
PRESPR011DecibarsPressure (spatial coordinate) exerted by the water body by profiling pressure sensor and correction 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
TEMPS9011Degrees CelsiusTemperature (ITS-90) of the water body by CTD or STD

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

No Problem Report Found in the Database

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

Instrument Descriptions

CTD Unit and Auxiliary Sensors

Sensor Model Serial Number Calibration (UT) Comments
CTD underwater unit Sea-Bird 9plus underwater unit 09P-54047-0943 - -
Submersible pump Sea-Bird 5T submersible pump 05T-3607 - -
Secondary submersible pump Sea-Bird 5T submersible pump 05T-3195 - -
Carousel 24 position pylon Sea-Bird 32 Carousel 24 position pylon 32-19817-0243 - Equipped with 24 Niskin sampling bottles
CTD deck unit Sea-Bird 11plus deck unit 11P-34173-0676 - -
Pressure transducer Digiquartz temperature compensated pressure sensor 110557 26/04/2009 -
Conductivity sensor Sea-Bird 4C conductivity sensor 04C-3054 10/08/2011 -
Temperature sensor Sea-Bird 3P temperature sensor 03P-4151 1/09/2010 -
Secondary temperature sensor Sea-Bird 3P temperature sensor 03P-2919 - -
Secondary conductivity sensor Sea-Bird 4C conductivity sensor 04C-3580 - -
Dissolved oxygen sensor Sea-Bird 43 dissolved oxygen sensor 43-0363 - -
Fluorometer Chelsea MKIII Aquatracka fluorometer 88-2615-124 - -
Altimeter Benthos PSA-916T altimeter 41302 - -
Turbidity sensor User Supplied turbidity sensor - - -
Light scattering sensor WETLabs light scattering sensor BBRTD-759R - -
Transmissometer Chelsea MKII 10 cm path Alphatracka transmissometer 161050 - -

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.

Paroscientific Absolute Pressure Transducers Series 3000 and 4000

Paroscientific Series 3000 and 4000 pressure transducers use a Digiquartz pressure sensor to provide high accuracy and precision data. The sensor comprises a quartz crystal resonator that responds to pressure-induced stress, and temperature is measured for thermal compensation of the calculated pressure.

The 3000 series of transducers includes one model, the 31K-101, whereas the 4000 series includes several models, listed in the table below. All transducers exhibit repeatability of better than ±0.01% full pressure scale, hysteresis of better than ±0.02% full scale and acceleration sensitivity of ±0.008% full scale /g (three axis average). Pressure resolution is better than 0.0001% and accuracy is typically 0.01% over a broad range of temperatures.

Differences between the models lie in their pressure and operating temperature ranges, as detailed below:

Model Max. pressure (psia) Max. pressure (MPa) Temperature range (°C)
31K-101 1000 6.9 -54 to 107
42K-101 2000 13.8 0 to 125
43K-101 3000 20.7 0 to 125
46K-101 6000 41.4 0 to 125
410K-101 10000 68.9 0 to 125
415K-101 15000 103 0 to 50
420K-101 20000 138 0 to 50
430K-101 30000 207 0 to 50
440K-101 40000 276 0 to 50

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

BODC Processing

The primary data (conductivity, temperature salinity) were received in a structured matlab format and converted into BODC internal format. The auxiliary sensor data will be processed separately. Potential temperature of the water body was derived by computation using UNESCO 1983 algorithm, σθ was derived by computation from salinity and potential temperature also using UNESCO 1983 algorithm. The following table shows how the variables within the matlab file were mapped to appropriate BODC parameter codes:

Originator's Parameter Name Units Description BODC Parameter Code Units Comments
temp °C Temperature from primary sensor TEMPS901 °C -
sal - Practical salinity PSALCC01 Dimensionless Calibrated against CTD bottle salinity samples
pres dbar Pressure exerted by the water column PRESPR01 dbar -
- - Potential temperature POTMCV01 °C Generated by BODC using the Fofonoff and Millard (1983) algorithm
- - σθ of the water column SIGTPR01 kg/m3 Generated by BODC using the Fofonoff and Millard (1983) algorithm

The reformatted data were visualised using the in-house EDSERPLO software. The data were screened and quality control flags were applied to data as necessary. Overall there were no quality issues and very few flags were added.


Fofonoff, N.P. and Millard, R.C., 1983. Algorithms for computations of fundamental properties of seawater. UNESCO Technical Papers in Marine Science, No.44, 53pp.

Originator's Data Processing

Sampling Strategy

Fifty five CTD profiles were performed during the cruise. The launch and recovery of the CTDs was done relatively slowly, especially in bad weather, due to the nature of the winch system on the ship. There was also a delay of a few minutes whilst the winch system was switched from box control to lab control at approximately 100 m of wire out. In addition, at stations where Vertical Microstructure Profilers (VMPs) were deployed, the CTD deployment duration had to approximately match the VMP cast duration, within 1.5 hours. There were several problems which occurred during the deployment of the CTDs. CTD007 was aborted due to early weight release of the VMP, CTD035 was delayed due bad weather and was made shallow (1875 m) due to VMP time constraint, CTD027 had a shallow bottom, CTD045 was aborted due to problem with the hydroboom, CTD054 was stopped due to bad weather, and during CTD048, the Sea-Bird software crashed and had to be restarted.

Data processing

The files were produced by Seasave and initial data processing was performed using Sea-Bird processing software. Firstly, the raw data were converted into physical units using 'DatCnv', the surface soak was removed from the data and the surface pressure offset obtained from the first 30 readings was applied. Temporal shifts were then applied to align the sensor readings using 'AlignCTD'. Corrections for the thermal mass of the cell were made using 'CellTM' and the output from the 'AlignCTD', in order to minimise salinity spiking in steep vertical gradients due to temperature/conductivity mismatch.

After the Sea-Bird processing, further processing was undertaken using the National Oceanography Centre's Mstar software package. Firstly, the data were averaged to 1 Hz, then the practical salinity and potential temperature were calculated. The downcast data were extracted, gaps were interpolated and the data were then averaged to 2 dbar. All profiles were visually checked to detect any possible anomalies, and profiles were also plotted on top of each other in order to detect any possible sensor drift. A number of small localised spikes were detected in the conductivity/salinity profiles and these were removed and replaced by null values.

Further details of the originator's processing can be found in the cruise report.

Field Calibrations


Between five and seven Niskin bottles were sampled for salinity at each station. Surface and bottom Niskin bottles were chosen as well as a couple of bottles at tracer cluster depths (DIMES project released an inert chemical tracer at the upstream edge of the study area in late 2009). The differences in salinity between the bottle salinities and the sensor salinities were found to be relatively scattered, but most differences were within ± 0.002. No clear trend or pattern in pressure or time dependence was identified, and both sensors showed similar behaviour. θ-S profiles were used to detect possible sensor drift, and all θ-S characteristics of bottom water sampled during the cruise were found to fall within the same narrow band. There was a change noted in the salinity from the beginning to end of the cruise, with fresher salinities at the beginning, however, this was thought to be a real change as it did not appear to be a constant shift and the difference was also consistent with previous bottom water studies. Based upon the analyses conducted, it was concluded that further calibration of the salinity data was not required, as the calibration applied would be less than the target accuracy.

Project Information

Diapycnal and Isopycnal Mixing Experiment in the Southern Ocean (DIMES) project document

DIMES is a US/UK field program aimed at measuring diapycnal and isopycnal mixing in the Southern Ocean, along the tilting isopycnals of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

The Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) of the ocean is a critical regulator of the Earth's climate processes. Climate models are highly sensitive to the representation of mixing processes in the southern limb of the MOC, within the Southern Ocean, although the lack of extensive in situ observations of Southern Ocean mixing processes has made evaluation of mixing somewhat difficult. Theories and models of the Southern Ocean circulation have been built on the premise of adiabatic flow in the ocean interior, with diabatic processes confined to the upper-ocean mixed layer. Interior diapycnal mixing has often been assumed to be small, but a few recent studies have suggested that diapycnal mixing might be large in some locations, particularly over rough bathymetry. Depending on its extent, this interior diapycnal mixing could significantly affect the overall energetics and property balances for the Southern Ocean and in turn for the global ocean. The goals of DIMES are to obtain measurements that will help us quantify both along-isopycnal eddy-driven mixing and cross-isopycnal interior mixing.

DIMES includes tracer release, isopycnal following RAFOS floats, microstructure measurements, shearmeter floats, EM-APEX floats, a mooring array in Drake Passage, hydrographic observations, inverse modeling, and analysis of altimetry and numerical model output.

DIMES is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (U.S.), Natural Environment Research Council (U.K) and British Antarctic Survey (U.K.)

For more information please see the official project website at DIMES

Data Activity or Cruise Information


Cruise Name JC054 (UKD-2)
Departure Date 2010-12-04
Arrival Date 2011-01-08
Principal Scientist(s)Mike Meredith (British Antarctic Survey)
Ship RRS James Cook

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