Metadata Report for BODC Series Reference Number 541705

Metadata Summary

Data Description

Data Category Towed STD/CTD
Instrument Type CTD in towed or autonomous underwater vehicle
Instrument Mounting towed unmanned submersible
Originating Country United Kingdom
Originator -
Originating Organization Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (now National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool)
Processing Status banked
Project(s) Provess

Data Identifiers

Originator's Identifier SURVEY1
BODC Series Reference 541705

Time Co-ordinates(UT)

Start Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 1998-10-21 19:30
End Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 1998-10-22 07:14
Nominal Cycle Interval 1.0 seconds

Spatial Co-ordinates

Southernmost Latitude 59.30810 N ( 59° 18.5' N )
Northernmost Latitude 59.58310 N ( 59° 35.0' N )
Westernmost Longitude 0.50020 E ( 0° 30.0' E )
Easternmost Longitude 1.43190 E ( 1° 25.9' E )
Positional Uncertainty 0.0 to 0.01 n.miles
Minimum Sensor Depth 0.01 m
Maximum Sensor Depth 81.16 m
Minimum Sensor Height 38.84 m
Maximum Sensor Height 119.99 m
Sea Floor Depth 120.0 m
Sensor Distribution Variable common depth - All sensors are grouped effectively at the same depth, but this depth varies significantly during the series
Sensor 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 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)
ACYCAA01 1 Dimensionless Record_No Sequence number
ALATGP01 1 Degrees Lat_GPS Latitude north (WGS84) by unspecified GPS system
ALONGP01 1 Degrees Lon_GPS Longitude east (WGS84) by unspecified GPS system
CPHLPR01 1 Milligrams per cubic metre chl-a_water_ISfluor Concentration of chlorophyll-a {chl-a CAS 479-61-8} per unit volume of the water body [particulate >unknown phase] by in-situ chlorophyll fluorometer
PRESPR01 1 Decibars Pres_Z Pressure (spatial co-ordinate) exerted by the water body by profiling pressure sensor and corrected to read zero at sea level
PSALST01 1 Dimensionless P_sal_CTD Practical salinity of the water body by CTD and computation using UNESCO 1983 algorithm
TEMPST01 1 Degrees Celsius WC_temp_CTD Temperature 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

PROVESS Northern North Sea (NNS) Site SeaSoar Deployments

Northern North Sea Site (59° 20.0' N, 1° 00.0' E)

The SeaSoar was deployed by RVS (Research Vessels Services, Southampton Oceanographic Centre, UK) for J. Howarth of CCMS Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, UK during PROVESS cruise Pelagia PE125 at the Northern North Sea site. The deployment took place in the vicinity of the mooring site and consisted of three box surveys:

Most of the time the SeaSoar was on 200 metres of tow cable giving a depth range of approx. 80 metres. Surveys were carried out at an average speed of 6 to 8 knots.


SeaSoar Instrument Description

The SeaSoar is a hydrodynamic fish towed behind the ship travelling at 8-9 knots linked by a faired cable. The usual cable length is 800m, which allows the fish to oscillate between the surface and a depth of 500m.

The unit has two stub wings whose angle of attack may be set by hydraulic servo motors. Thus the fish is able to climb or dive under the control of command signals from the ship or, more usually, by automatic command signals driven by the on-board pressure sensor. The wavelength and amplitude of the locus of the fish through the water depend upon the cable length, the ship's speed and the angle of attack selected for the wings.

The fish can carry a range of sensors. Invariably, a CTD is fitted but fluorometers, transmissometers, light sensors and plankton counters may also be included.

The instrument was developed by the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, Wormley (now Southampton Oceanographic Centre) and was subsequently made available commercially.

Pelagia PE125 SeaSoar Data Processing Documentation

Instrumentation and Sampling

The SeaSoar was equipped with a Neil Brown MkIII CTD fitted with a Chelsea Instrument MkIII fluorometer. Bottle water samples were collected for salinity (Dave Teare, RVS) and chlorophyll (K. Wild-Allen, NUE) analyses. The samples were drawn from the ship Aqua-flow system at the beginning and end of survey and at approx. 4 hours interval during each survey when the SeaSoar was at approx. 4 metres depth (also the depth of the Aqua-flow intake). These samples were used for the calibration of the different instruments. Although an oxygen sensor was also fitted on the SeaSoar, the data were not included in the final data series because no oxygen calibration samples were taken during the cruise.

Data Acquisition and On Board Processing

The data were logged by a Research Vessel Services Level 'A' microcomputer that dynamically reduced the sampling frequency to 1Hz and applied a time stamp from PC internal clock. There was then a failure during the cruise to process the data further. As a result, the reduced data were logged on the Level 'C' (a Sun workstation) at the Southampton Oceanographic Laboratory after the cruise.

Initial calibrations were applied to convert the raw counts into engineering units. The times associated with the SeaSoar data were then corrected by taking into account the start time for recording as logged to the PC file and the offset of the PC internal clock to the ship's master clock logged on the ABC system. The time uncertainty associated with this correction is not in excess of 20 seconds.

BODC Calibrations


The accuracy of the pressure channel was examined by considering the pressure values when the SeaSoar was logging in the air (as indicated by salinity values <1 PSU). Pressure readings in air (888 datapoints for Survey 1, 478 for Survey 2 and 1806 for Survey 3) were sufficiently close to zero (ranging from -0.09 to +0.39 db) and no correction was applied to the pressure channel.


Salinity was calibrated using water samples collected from the ship's non- toxic seawater supply when the SeaSoar was close to the surface. The samples were analysed on a Guildline Autosal bench salinometer calibrated against OSI standard seawater. A significant offset was observed for the three surveys and the following corrections were applied to the data:

SS1: calibrated salinity = SeaSoar Sal + 0.043 PSU (SD= +/-0.016, n=5)
SS2: calibrated salinity = SeaSoar Sal + 0.043 PSU (SD= +/-0.012, n=4)
SS3: calibrated salinity = SeaSoar Sal + 0.014 PSU (SD= +/-0.002, n=3)

The calibrated SeaSoar data from the depth range of 3-6 decibars were then compared with corresponding calibrated salinity data from the surface underway thermosalinograph record in order to check for instrument drift. No significant drift was detected for any of the three surveys.


Temperature was checked by comparing SeaSoar data from the depth range 3-6 decibars with corresponding calibrated temperature data from the surface underway thermosalinograph record. The difference between the two data sets was not significant and consequently the SeaSoar temperature data were left unchanged.


For the calibration of the SeaSoar fluorescence channel, variations in surface distribution were too small to derive a significant calibration equation from surface data only. Extracted chlorophyll values from samples taken from the non-toxic supply during the SeaSoar surveys were therefore combined with extracted chlorophyll measured on samples taken at different depths during the CTD stations just prior and after each survey. These were compared with SeaSoar fluorometer voltages from the first two profiles of each SeaSoar survey averaged within ±1 db of the samples' depth.

The resulting calibration equation applied to the data was as follow:

Chl (mg Chl m -3 ) = exp (3.66 Voltages - 4.99) (R 2 =0.93, n=22)

BODC Data Processing

Navigation was added to the calibrated SeaSoar data by matching the time channels from the SeaSoar data and the ABC navigation file.

The calibrated data were screened using the BODC SERPLO interactive graphical editor. All suspect data were flagged by setting the quality control byte to 'M'.

The limits of the individual profiles contained in the data set were marked by setting the pressure channel flag to 'B' and 'E' to signify 'beginning' and 'end' respectively.

The data series were 'topped and tailed' to eliminate corrupt data collected during deployment and recovery of the fish.

Project Information

PROcesses of Vertical Exchange in Shelf Seas (PROVESS)


PROVESS was an interdisciplinary study of the vertical fluxes of properties through the water column and the surface and bottom boundary layers. The project was funded by the European Community MAST-III programme (MAS3-CT97- 0159) and ran from March 1998 to May 2001.

Scientific Rationale

PROVESS was based on the integration of experimental, theoretical and modelling studies with the aim of improving understanding and quantification of vertical exchange processes in the water column, in particular in the surface and benthic boundary layers and across the> pycnocline. PROVESS also explored mechanisms of physical-biological coupling in which vertical exchanges and turbulence significantly affect the environmental conditions experienced by the biota with particular reference to aggregation, flocculation, sedimentation and trophic interactions.


The experimental phase of the project was carried out at two contrasting sites in the North Sea: the northern North Sea site (NNS) and the southern North Sea site (SNS).

The two sites had the following characteristics:

Position 52° 15.0' N, 4° 17.0' E 59° 20.0' E, 1° 00.0' E
Time of year April-May September-November
Water depth (m) 16 100
M2 max amplitude (m s-1) 0.75 0.15
Max current (m s-1) 1.0 0.6
Delta T (deg C) mixed 7-1
Thermocline depth (m) mixed 35-100
Delta S 1 small
Halocline depth (m) 5-10 cf. thermocline depth
Max wind speed (m s-1) 20 25
Max wave height (m) 5 10
Max wave period (s) 8 10
Internal motion No Yes
Sediment muddy-sand muddy-sand
Biology eutrophic oligotrophic

At both locations measurements were concentrated at a central position with additional measurements being made to estimate horizontal gradients. Moored instruments (including current meters, temperature and pressure sensors, fluorometers, transmissometers, nutrient analysers and meteorological sensors) were deployed between 7 September and 5 November 1998 at the NNS and between 29 March and 25 May 1999 at the SNS. Each experiment was supported by intensive measurement series made from oceanographic ships and involving turbulence dissipation profiler CTD, particle size profilers, optical profilers, benthic sampling and water bottle sampling.

Details of the cruises were as follows:

Site Ship
NNS Valdivia (GER) VA174 5 - 17 Sep 1998
  Dana (DK) D1198 14 - 26 Oct 1998
  Pelagia (NL) PE125 19 - 30 Oct 1998
  Challenger (UK) CH140 22 Oct - 9 Nov 1998
SNS Pelagia (NL) PE135 29 Mar - 9 Apr 1999
  Mitra (NL) MT0499 19 - 30 Apr 1999
  Belgica (BE) BG9912 17 - 21 May 1999

Data Activity or Cruise Information


Cruise Name PE125
Departure Date 1998-10-19
Arrival Date 1998-10-30
Principal Scientist(s)Hans van Haren (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
Ship RV Pelagia

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