Metadata Report for BODC Series Reference Number 444437

Metadata Summary

Data Description

Data Category Currents -subsurface Eulerian
Instrument Type
Interocean S4 current meter  current meters
Instrument Mounting subsurface mooring
Originating Country United Kingdom
Originator -
Originating Organization Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (now National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool)
Processing Status banked
Project(s) Land Ocean Interaction Study (LOIS)
LOIS Shelf Edge Study (LOIS - SES)

Data Identifiers

Originator's Identifier s140.S4B
BODC Series Reference 444437

Time Co-ordinates(UT)

Start Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 1996-07-13 15:45
End Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 1996-07-25 12:01
Nominal Cycle Interval 120.0 seconds

Spatial Co-ordinates

Latitude 56.45650 N ( 56° 27.4' N )
Longitude 8.96580 W ( 8° 57.9' W )
Positional Uncertainty 0.1 to 0.5 n.miles
Minimum Sensor Depth 4.0 m
Maximum Sensor Depth 4.0 m
Minimum Sensor Height 143.0 m
Maximum Sensor Height 143.0 m
Sea Floor Depth 147.0 m
Sensor Distribution Fixed common depth - All sensors are grouped effectively at the same depth which is effectively fixed for the duration of the series
Sensor Depth Datum Sea floor reference - Depth measured as a height above sea floor but converted into a depth relative to the sea surface according to the same datum as used for sea floor depth (applicable to instrument depths not bathymetric depths)
Sea Floor Depth Datum Instantaneous - Depth measured below water line or instantaneous water body surface


BODC CODE Rank Units Short Title Title
AADYAA01 1 Days Date(Loch_Day) Date (time from 00:00 01/01/1760 to 00:00 UT on day)
AAFDZZ01 1 Days Time(Day_Fract) Time (time between 00:00 UT and timestamp)
LCDAEL01 1 Degrees True CurrDir Current direction (Eulerian) in the water body by in-situ current meter and correction to true North
LCSAEL01 1 Centimetres per second CurrSpd_CM Current speed (Eulerian) in the water body by in-situ current meter

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

InterOcean Spherical Solid State Sensor Current Meter S4 series

The S4 family are self-contained current measuring sensors enclosing all necessary solid state electronics for acquiring, processing and outputting data. Data retrieval is accomplished through a serial port without opening the instrument.

The spherical shape of the S4 is a contributing factor in the rejection of the vertical components of water movement and there are no protruding parts or sensor support structures to interfere with the water flow.

The S4 measures the magnitude and direction of the horizontal current motion of the water. Water flows through the electromagnetic field created by the instrument, thereby producing a voltage which is proportional to the magnitude of the water velocity past the sensor. This voltage is then sensed by two pairs of titanium electrodes located symmetrically on the equator of the spherical housing which forms the sensor.

Manufacturer's specifications: Meter (sphere, diameter 25cm) is designed for depths down to 1000m (S4 standard: glass-filled cycloaliphalic epoxy construction with grooved surface for hydrodynamic stability) or down to 6000m (S4D, deep: annealed borosilicate glass version with smooth surface). The meter is shackled directly into the mooring cable by means of an axial titanium load bearing shaft.

Meter comprises:-

  1. Electromagnetic, 2 axis current speed sensor, range 0 to 350cm/s (standard) 0 to 50 and 0 to 100cm/s (optional), resolution 0.2cm/s (standard) 0.03cm/s (0 to 50 range) 0.06cm/s (0 to 100 range), accuracy 2 per cent reading +/- 1cm/s. The sensor responds to the component of flow normal to its vertical axis.

  2. Flux-gate magnetometer compass for heading information used to reference the current direction to magnetic north, compass range 360°, resolution 0.5°, accuracy 2°, tilt +/- 25° for specified accuracy.

  3. Temperature stable quartz oscillator clock, accuracy 12 minutes/year.

  4. Optional automatic tilt compensation i.e. the allowable tilt of the meter from the vertical at which the vertical cosine response is fully corrected, angle range +/- 45°, resolution 0.6°, accuracy (speed correction) 1 per cent (angle output) 0.25°.

  5. Optional semiconductor (thermistor or platinum) temperature sensor, range -5 to +45 °C, resolution 0.05 °C, accuracy 0.2 °C, response time at 63 per cent 1 min (1.5 sec thermistor or 60msec platinum).

  6. Optional conductive conductivity sensor, range 5 to 70mS/cm, resolution 0.1mS/cm, accuracy 0.2mS/cm (optional inductive sensor, range 1 to 70mS/cm).

  7. Optional semiconductor strain gauge pressure sensor, range 0 to 1000dBar (70M option), resolution 1dBar (4mm with 70M option), accuracy 0.25 per cent fs.

  8. Recorder, CMOS static RAM microprocessor, 64KByte (128K or 256KByte optional) performs vector averaging, burst sampling and adaptive sampling.

Available versions of the S4 are listed in the table below:

S4RT Basic S4 current meter without memory installed, for real-time monitoring applications only.
S4 The basic S4 current measuring instrument, with current speed and direction sensors and internal memory from 64K to 1 megabyte of solid-state memory.
S4DW S4 current meter directional wave measuring instrument. Includes 1 megabyte of memory, 70 meter high-resolution depth, adaptive sampling, and Lithium battery pack, standard.
S4P S4 instrument outfitted for profiling applications. Fitted with fast response Platinum temperature sensor, inductive flow- through conductivity sensor, and high-resolution depth sensor as standard. Memory size may be from 64K to 1 megabyte.
S4D Deep water S4 instrument for use to depths of 6,000 meters.
S4A Advanced current measuring instrument with large memory capacity, and dual-mode logging capability. Memory size may be 32-256 megabytes. Includes high speed binary down-loads using Zmodem protocol with 32 bit CRC error checking. Adaptive current sampling is standard on this instrument.
S4ADW Large memory capacity S4 directional wave measuring instrument. Includes 32 to 256 megabyte memory, 70 meter high-resolution depth sensor, and Lithium battery pack, standard.
S4ADW-i New generation of S4ADW directional wave measuring instrument providing internally-processed directional wave data for direct output from the instrument without the need for external analysis software. Ideal multi-purpose oceanographic instrument for integrated-system applications requiring pre-processed output directly into a datalogger, PLC, modem, or other external device without need for PC computer. Used for directional wave, current, and tide measurements, with additional parameters available. Includes long-life lithium battery, and internal memory sizes from 32MB to 256MB.
S4AP An S4A instrument outfitted for profiling applications. Fitted with fast response Platinum temperature sensor, inductive flow-through conductivity sensor, and high- resolution depth sensor, standard. Memory size may be 32-256 megabytes.
S4AD Deep water S4A instrument for use to depths of 6,000 meters. Has all the same features and options as available with the standard S4A.
S4AH Same as S4A but uses 5 Hz sampling rate instead of 2 Hz. S4AHDW, S4AHP, S4AHD are 5 Hz models of the units listed above.

Further details are available from the manufacturer's specification sheet .

BODC Current Meter Screening

BODC screen both the series header qualifying information and the parameter values in the data cycles themselves.

Header information is inspected for:

Documents are written by BODC highlighting irregularities which cannot be resolved.

Data cycles are inspected using time series plots of all parameters. Currents are additionally inspected using vector scatter plots and time series plots of North and East velocity components. These presentations undergo intrinsic and extrinsic screening to detect infeasible values within the data cycles themselves and inconsistencies as seen when comparing characteristics of adjacent data sets displaced with respect to depth, position or time. Values suspected of being of non- oceanographic origin may be tagged with the BODC flag denoting suspect value.

The following types of irregularity, each relying on visual detection in the time series plot, are amongst those which may be flagged as suspect:

If a large percentage of the data is affected by irregularities, deemed abnormal, then instead of flagging the individual suspect values, a caution may be documented. Likewise documents will highlight irregularities seen in the current vector scatter plots such as incongruous centre holes, evidence of mooring 'knock-down', abnormal asymmetry in tidally dominated records or gaps as when a range of speeds or directions go unregistered due to meter malfunction.

The term 'knock-down' refers to the situation when the 'drag' exerted on a mooring at high current speeds may cause instruments to tilt beyond the angle at which they are intended to operate. At this point the efficiency of the current sensors to accurately record the flow is reduced.

Inconsistencies between the characteristics of the data set and those of its neighbours are sought, and where necessary, documented. This covers inconsistencies in the following:

This intrinsic and extrinsic screening of the parameter values seeks to confirm the qualifying information and the source laboratory's comments on the series. In screening and collating information, every care is taken to ensure that errors of BODC making are not introduced.

Project Information

Land Ocean Interaction Study (LOIS)


The Land Ocean Interaction Study (LOIS) was a Community Research Project of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The broad aim of LOIS was to gain an understanding of, and an ability to predict, the nature of environmental change in the coastal zone around the UK through an integrated study from the river catchments through to the shelf break.

LOIS was a collaborative, multidisciplinary study undertaken by scientists from NERC research laboratories and Higher Education institutions. The LOIS project was managed from NERC's Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

The project ran for six years from April 1992 until April 1998 with a further modelling and synthesis phase beginning in April 1998 and ending in April 2000.

Project Structure

LOIS consisted of the following components:

Marine Fieldwork

Marine field data were collected between September 1993 and September 1997 as part of RACS(C) and SES. The RACS data were collected throughout this period from the estuaries and coastal waters of the UK North Sea coast from Great Yarmouth to the Tweed. The SES data were collected between March 1995 and September 1996 from the Hebridean slope. Both the RACS and SES data sets incorporate a broad spectrum of measurements collected using moored instruments and research vessel surveys.

LOIS Shelf Edge Study (LOIS - SES)


SES was a component of the NERC Land Ocean Interaction Study (LOIS) Community Research Programme that made intensive measurements from the shelf break in the region known as the Hebridean Slope from March 1995 to September 1996.

Scientific Rationale

SES was devoted to the study of interactions between the shelf seas and the open ocean. The specific objectives of the project were:


The SES fieldwork was focussed on a box enclosing two sections across the shelf break at 56.4-56.5 °N and 56.6-56.7 °N. Moored instrument arrays were maintained throughout the experiment at stations with water depths ranging from 140 m to 1500 m, although there were heavy losses due to the intensive fishing activity in the area. The moorings included meteorological buoys, current meters, transmissometers, fluorometers, nutrient analysers (but these never returned any usable data), thermistor chains, colour sensors and sediment traps.

The moorings were serviced by research cruises at approximately three-monthly intervals. In addition to the mooring work this cruises undertook intensive CTD, water bottle and benthic surveys with cruise durations of up to 6 weeks (3 legs of approximately 2 weeks each).

Moored instrument activities associated with SES comprised current measurements in the North Channel in 1993 and the Tiree Passage from 1995-1996. These provided boundary conditions for SES modelling activities.

Additional data were provided through cruises undertaken by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in a co-operative programme known as SESAME.

Data Activity or Cruise Information

Data Activity

Start Date (yyyy-mm-dd) 1996-07-13
End Date (yyyy-mm-dd) 1996-07-25
Organization Undertaking ActivityProudman Oceanographic Laboratory (now National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool)
Country of OrganizationUnited Kingdom
Originator's Data Activity IdentifierPOLRIG#775
Platform Categorysubsurface mooring

Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Moored Instrument Rig #775

This rig was deployed as part of the LOIS Shelf-Edge Study at site S140.

Rig position: 56° 27.40'N 08° 57.72'W
Deployed: 13 Jul 1996 15:44
from RRS Challenger (cruise CH128A)
Recovered: 25 Jul 1996 12:31
from RRS Challenger (cruise CH128A)

The instruments were anchored by 500kg of chain and kept erect by a 40" diameter buoy attached 1m below the sea surface.

Instruments deployed on the rig

Height above
Sea Bed
143m S4 current meter (#1644)
142m MINLOG temperature probe (#2409)
141m to 65m 76m thermistor chain (#2412)
64m Aanderaa current meter (#11054)

Other Series linked to this Data Activity - 442387 477399 439029


Cruise Name CH128A
Departure Date 1996-07-10
Arrival Date 1996-07-26
Principal Scientist(s)John H Simpson (University of Wales, Bangor School of Ocean Sciences)
Ship RRS Challenger

Complete Cruise Metadata Report is available here

Fixed Station Information

Fixed Station Information

Station NameLOIS(SES) S140
CategoryOffshore location
Latitude56° 27.14' N
Longitude8° 58.27' W
Water depth below MSL145.0 m

LOIS (SES) Mooring and CTD Site S140

Site S140 was a fixed station where moorings were deployed during the Land-Ocean Interaction Study (LOIS) Shelf Edge Study (SES). It was also one of fourteen CTD sites on repeat section S, across the Hebridean Slope, occupied by cruises between March 1995 and September 1996.

Instrument Deployment History

The following tables summarise the instruments deployed at this site for which data may be available.


Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
CM a a       b b c c d
Met a a       b b b b b
BPR a a b b b c c d d e
ADCP     a a a b b c c d
TChn     a a a b c d d  
Tr     a a a b c d e e
Fl     a a a b c d e e
NA           a a      
WR             a a a  
OCS     a a a b        


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug
CM d d e e f f f g
Met       c c c c  
BPR e e f f g g g h
ADCP d d e e f f f g
TChn         e e e f
Tr     f f g g g h
Fl     f f g g g h
NA         b b b  
OCS       c c c    

Each different letter in the tables above corresponds to an individual instrument record.



  1. Transmissometers may have been fitted to some of the current meters.
  2. Only periods for which useful data were returned are shown.

Other Series linked to this Fixed Station for this cruise - 439029 442387 477210 477399

Other Cruises linked to this Fixed Station (with the number of series) - CD91B (3) CD93A (9) CH120 (4) CH121A (8) CH121C (8) CH123A (6) CH125A (6) CH126A (11)

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