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Metadata Report for BODC Series Reference Number 641510

Metadata Summary

Data Description

Data Category CTD or STD cast
Instrument Type
Chelsea Technologies Group Aquatracka fluorometer  fluorometers
Sea-Bird SBE 911plus CTD  CTD; water temperature sensor; salinity sensor
Biospherical QSP-200L underwater PAR  radiometers
WET Labs {Sea-Bird WETLabs} C-Star transmissometer  transmissometers
Instrument Mounting research vessel
Originating Country United Kingdom
Originator Mr Nathan Cunningham
Originating Organization British Antarctic Survey
Processing Status banked
Online delivery of data Download available - Ocean Data View (ODV) format
Project(s) -

Data Identifiers

Originator's Identifier CTD256
BODC Series Reference 641510

Time Co-ordinates(UT)

Start Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 2002-01-24 20:36
End Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) -
Nominal Cycle Interval 2.0 decibars

Spatial Co-ordinates

Latitude 53.84600 S ( 53° 50.8' S )
Longitude 39.14420 W ( 39° 8.7' W )
Positional Uncertainty Unspecified
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Depth 0.99 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Depth 278.31 m
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Height 13.68 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Height 291.01 m
Sea Floor Depth 292.0 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 Instantaneous - Depth measured below water line or instantaneous water body surface


BODC CODERankUnitsTitle
ACYCAA011DimensionlessSequence number
CPHLPR011Milligrams 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
IRRDUV011MicroEinsteins per square metre per secondDownwelling vector irradiance as photons of electromagnetic radiation (PAR wavelengths) in the water body by cosine-collector radiometer
POPTZZ011PercentTransmittance (unspecified wavelength) per unspecified length of the water body by transmissometer
PRESPR011DecibarsPressure (spatial coordinate) exerted by the water body by profiling pressure sensor and correction to read zero at sea level
PSALST011DimensionlessPractical salinity of the water body by CTD and computation using UNESCO 1983 algorithm
SIGTEQ011Kilograms per cubic metreSigma-theta of the water body by computation from salinity and potential temperature using UNESCO algorithm
TEMPST011Degrees CelsiusTemperature 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

These data have no specific confidentiality restrictions for users. However, users must acknowledge data sources as it is not ethical to publish data without proper attribution. Any publication or other output resulting from usage of the data should include an acknowledgment.

If the Information Provider does not provide a specific attribution statement, or if you are using Information from several Information Providers and multiple attributions are not practical in your product or application, you may consider using the following:

"Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0."

Narrative Documents

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.

Aquatracka fluorometer

The Chelsea Instruments Aquatracka is a logarithmic response fluorometer. It uses a pulsed (5.5 Hz) xenon light source discharging between 320 and 800 nm through a blue filter with a peak transmission of 420 nm and a bandwidth at half maximum of 100 nm. A red filter with sharp cut off, 10% transmission at 664 nm and 678 nm, is used to pass chlorophyll-a fluorescence to the sample photodiode.

The instrument may be deployed either in a through-flow tank, on a CTD frame or moored with a data logging package.

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

Biospherical Instruments Quantum Scalar Irradiance Profiling Sensor QSP-200

The QSP-200 is a submersible spherical radiance collector designed to ensure a uniform directional response over 3.7-pi steradians. The aluminium-encased optical light pipe funnels flux from the collector to a silicon photodetector that has a flat quantum response over the Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) spectrum (400 - 700 nm).

The sensor can be coupled with other instruments and accessories, allowing for automatic data acquisition and digital display. The standard version has a depth rating of 1000 m and the QSP-200D includes the option of a 200 m depth transducer. The logarithmic output version (QSP-200L4S) is available for integration with CTD or STD and uses a shielded underwater cable. The QSP-200 has been superseded by the QSP-2300.


Wavelength 400 to 700 nm
PAR Spectral Response better than ± 8% within the specified wavelength
Directional response ± 6% for 0 to 110°
PAR Dynamic Range 1.4 x 10-5 to 0.5 µE cm-2 s-1
Nominal sensitivity 1 V = 1 x 1017 quanta cm-2 sec-1
Noise level < 1 mV
Maximum Noise Sensor Dark < 100 µV RMS
Response Temperature Coefficient < 0.15% °C-1
Temperature Range -2 to 35°C
Temperature coefficient of the dark signal < 10 µV °C-1
Depth rating 1000 m

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

WETLabs C-Star transmissometer

This instrument is designed to measure beam transmittance by submersion or with an optional flow tube for pumped applications. It can be used in profiles, moorings or as part of an underway system.

Two models are available, a 25 cm pathlength, which can be built in aluminum or co-polymer, and a 10 cm pathlength with a plastic housing. Both have an analog output, but a digital model is also available.

This instrument has been updated to provide a high resolution RS232 data output, while maintaining the same design and characteristics.


Pathlength 10 or 25 cm
Wavelength 370, 470, 530 or 660 nm

~ 20 nm for wavelengths of 470, 530 and 660 nm

~ 10 to 12 nm for a wavelength of 370 nm

Temperature error 0.02 % full scale °C-1
Temperature range 0 to 30°C
Rated depth

600 m (plastic housing)

6000 m (aluminum housing)

Further details are available in the manufacturer's specification sheet or user guide.

James Clark Ross JR70 CTD Data Document

Sampling strategy

A Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) probe was used to vertically profile the temperature and salinity of the water column. Associated instrumentation included an altimeter, a transmissometer, a fluorometer and a photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) sensor. A total of 69 CTD casts were performed during the cruise. Discrete water sampling was conducted on the upcast of the CTD, with the exception of the station conducted at Stromness for the calibration of the EK500 echosounder.

Instrumentation and data processing by originator

  • CTD unit and auxiliary sensors

    The CTD system used on the JR70 was the BAS Sea-Bird 911 plus (serial number: 09P15759-0480). The CTD was fitted with 9 scientific sensors:

    Sensor Serial Number Last calibration date
    Primary temperature-SBE 3 plus 03P2709 12/09/2000
    Primary conductivity-SBE 4C 42255 13/09/2000
    Pressure-Digiquartz pressure transducer series 410K-105 67241 30/06/2000
    Secondary temperature-SBE 3 plus 03P2705 02/07/2001
    Secondary conductivity sensor-SBE 4C 42222 13/09/2000
    Transmissometer-Wet Labs C-Star CST-396DR 05/07/2001
    Fluorometer-Chelsea Instruments Aquatracka Mk.III 88216 11/06/2001
    Altimeter-Tritech 2130.26993 -
    PAR Sensor-Biospherical Inc. QCD905L 18/07/2001
  • Sampling device

    The CTD was connected to a SBE 32, twelve-position carousel water sampler with each position having a 10 litre Niskin bottle fitted. The primary purpose of discrete salinity sampling is to calibrate the salinity measurements made by the CTD sensors.

    The salinity samples from the CTD were analysed during the cruise using the BAS Guildline Autosal model 8400B (serial number 65763) with measurements being made using Ocean Scientific standards P137 (K15 = 0.99995, S = 34.998, date of preparation = 09/12/1999) and P140(K15 = 0.99991, S = 34.997, date of preparation = 10/11/2000). Once conductivity measurements had been made for each sample they were entered into a Quattro Pro spreadsheet for conversion to salinity, with the resultant data being written out as ASCII and transferred to JRUF for subsequent processing in Pstar.

  • Data Acquisition and Initial Processing

    SBE 911 Plus

    The general procedure was to power up the deck unit prior to deployment and commence logging, then lower the package to about 10 metres depth, where it was left to soak for 5 minutes. The pumps are saltwater activate after 60 seconds using a conductivity switch, and so do not operate until the CTD is in the water. After soaking the CTD was brought to the surface, the winch wireout zeroed, and the CTD lowered to about 10 metres above the seabed using the altimeter to judge the approach. The downcast data were extracted, calibrated and averaged to 2 dbar intervals to form the final CTD product. Data were logged using the SeaBird seasave module from the Seasoft version 4.226 set of utilities. The sampling rate was set to 24Hz, the maximum permitted with the system.

    The processed data, together with the raw Sea-Bird, configuration and bottle files, were supplied to BODC for banking.

  • Problems

    Data produced seem of a high quality and were obtained with no very significant problems. One instance of data loss was when a cast was aborted due to failed comms between the deck unit and the CTD. The problem resolved itself following retermination and reconnection of the CTD leads. "False bottoms" were a recurrent feature of the altimeter, though these were not unduly problematic. Another minor problem was occasional deterioration of data quality following a spike in the altimeter signal. It became clear that when the altimeter reads zero the pumps on the CTD automatically turn off and do not restart for 60 seconds once they have been turned off, so if the zero reading was due to a spike (as opposed to contact with the seabed) the following minute of data is compromised; temperature is moderately affected, salinity much more so.

BODC post-processing and screening

  • Reformatting

    The data were converted from Pstar format into BODC internal format (QXF) to allow use of in-house visualisation tools.

  • Screening

    Reformatted CTD data were transferred onto a graphics work station for visualisation using the in-house editor SERPLO. No data values were edited or deleted. Flagging was achieved by modification of the associated quality control flag to 'M' for suspect values and 'N' for nulls.

  • Banking

    Once BODC quality control screening was complete, the CTD QXF files were archived in the BODC National Oceanographic Database and the associated metadata were loaded into an ORACLE Relational Database Management System.

Quality control report

  • Salinity

    The data seem to be of good quality and no flagging was required.

  • Temperature

    The data seem to be of good quality and no flagging was required.

  • Pressure

    The data seem to be of good quality and no flagging was required.

  • Transmittance

    While mainly good quality, some of the data were flagged for spikes in transmittance.

  • Chlorophyll-a

    As with transmittance some of the data were flagged for spikes although the majority of the data seemed to be good.

  • PAR

    Mainly good data with little flagging required.

General Data Screening carried out by BODC

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

Header information is inspected for:

  • Irregularities such as unfeasible values
  • Inconsistencies between related information, for example:
    • Times for instrument deployment and for start/end of data series
    • Length of record and the number of data cycles/cycle interval
    • Parameters expected and the parameters actually present in the data cycles
  • Originator's comments on meter/mooring performance and data quality

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

Data cycles are inspected using time or depth 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 data values will not be altered.

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

  • Spurious data at the start or end of the record.
  • Obvious spikes occurring in periods free from meteorological disturbance.
  • A sequence of constant values in consecutive data cycles.

If a large percentage of the data is affected by irregularities then a Problem Report will be written rather than flagging the individual suspect values. Problem Reports are also used to highlight irregularities seen in the graphical data presentations.

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

  • Maximum and minimum values of parameters (spikes excluded).
  • The occurrence of meteorological events.

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

No Project Information held for the Series

Data Activity or Cruise Information


Cruise Name JR20011231 (JR70)
Departure Date 2001-12-31
Arrival Date 2002-02-08
Principal Scientist(s)Peter Ward (British Antarctic Survey)
Ship RRS James Clark Ross

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
B nominal value
Q value below limit of quantification