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Metadata Report for BODC Series Reference Number 77414

Metadata Summary

Data Description

Data Category CTD or STD cast
Instrument Type
Neil Brown MK3 CTD  CTD; water temperature sensor; salinity sensor; dissolved gas sensors
Instrument Mounting research vessel
Originating Country United Kingdom
Originator -
Originating Organization University of Liverpool Department of Oceanography (now University of Liverpool Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences)
Processing Status banked
Online delivery of data Download available - Ocean Data View (ODV) format
Project(s) -

Data Identifiers

Originator's Identifier 2/52
BODC Series Reference 77414

Time Co-ordinates(UT)

Start Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 1981-11-06 18:36
End Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 1981-11-06 18:57
Nominal Cycle Interval 2.0 decibars

Spatial Co-ordinates

Latitude 21.98200 N ( 21° 58.9' N )
Longitude 18.71800 W ( 18° 43.1' W )
Positional Uncertainty Unspecified
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Depth 1.99 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Depth 593.42 m
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Height 2546.58 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Height 3138.01 m
Sea Floor Depth 3140.0 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
PRESPR011DecibarsPressure (spatial coordinate) exerted by the water body by profiling pressure sensor and correction to read zero at sea level
PSALPR011DimensionlessPractical salinity of the water body by conductivity cell and computation using UNESCO 1983 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

Public domain 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.

The recommended acknowledgment is

"This study uses data from the data source/organisation/programme, provided by the British Oceanographic Data Centre and funded by the funding body."

Narrative Documents

Neil Brown MK3 CTD

The Neil Brown MK3 conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) profiler consists of an integral unit containing pressure, temperature and conductivity sensors with an optional dissolved oxygen sensor in a pressure-hardened casing. The most widely used variant in the 1980s and 1990s was the MK3B. An upgrade to this, the MK3C, was developed to meet the requirements of the WOCE project.

The MK3C includes a low hysteresis, titanium strain gauge pressure transducer. The transducer temperature is measured separately, allowing correction for the effects of temperature on pressure measurements. The MK3C conductivity cell features a free flow, internal field design that eliminates ducted pumping and is not affected by external metallic objects such as guard cages and external sensors.

Additional optional sensors include pH and a pressure-temperature fluorometer. The instrument is no longer in production, but is supported (repair and calibration) by General Oceanics.


These specification apply to the MK3C version.

Pressure Temperature Conductivity

6500 m

3200 m (optional)

-3 to 32°C 1 to 6.5 S cm-1

0.0015% FS

0.03% FS < 1 msec


0.003°C < 30 msec

0.0001 S cm-1

0.0003 S cm-1 < 30 msec

Further details can be found in the specification sheet.

RRS Shackleton Cruise 2/81 CTD Data Documentation


This data document covers the CTD data collected on RRS Shackleton Cruise 2/81 (October - November 1981) by the Department of Oceanography, Liverpool University, Liverpool, UK, under the direction of E.D. Barton.


The instrument used was the University of Liverpool's Neil Brown MK III CTD with no modifications. This instrument has been described by Brown and Morrison (WHOI-78-23). No serious problems were encountered with the data acquisition or processing. The calibrations were satisfactory.

Sensor resolution was as follows:

Pressure 0.02 db
Temperature 0.5 x 10-3 °C
Conductivity 0.001 x 10-3 mhos/cm

Sampling Protocol

Casts were usually to a depth of approximately 600m with data collection on the downcast. A General Oceanics Rosette Sampler was attached 1 metre above the CTD. Regions of weak or no vertical gradient were chosen during the downcasts as likely calibration points, and water samples and reversing thermometer measurements were made on upcasts to provide in-situ calibration.

During the upcasts such sites were relocated with the CTD, the winch was stopped and, if conditions were not varying substantially, a Niskin bottle sample was taken and the CTD readings were noted. If the reversing thermometers were used, a five minute soak period was allowed for them to attain thermal equilibrium. In general, 2 or 3 protected thermometers were used for each sample.

The CTD sampling rate was approximately 30 scans/sec of pressure, temperature and conductivity.

CTD station positions were determined by satellite navigation and sea floor depths by precision depth recorder.



Before each cruise the pressure sensor was adjusted at zero and at full scale against a dead weight tester. Checks were also made at intermediate pressures. These showed no significant deviation from linearity.


Comparisons were made against reversing thermometers, most of which had been recently recalibrated. Nine protected thermometers were used. There were 52 potential comparisons of 3 thermometers with CTD temperatures, discounting those made when the reversing frame hung up. 13 comparisons could not be made because of misfires or delayed reversals. There were 30 good comparisons when all three thermometers worked and gave reasonable results, 8 comparisons with two thermometers and 1 with one. The mean difference from all 107 comparisons was 0.006 °C (CTD lower); standard deviation 0.025 °C. No corrections were made to the CTD temperatures.


Comparisons were made with 56 water bottle sample salinities determined by a Plessey laboratory salinometer. Salinity determinations were carried out by one person within one day of sampling. The CTD conductivity cell was cleaned daily. The mean difference from the comparisons was 0.068 PSU (CTD higher); standard deviation 0.014 PSU. No appreciable drift was found in the conductivity cell calibration and the CTD salinities were adjusted down.

Data Processing

The data were processed on Liverpool University's ICL 1906S computer. Data were affected by an intermittent fault which produced some occasional erroneous values. These were eliminated by identifying scans which contained pressure, temperature or conductivity values that lay outside prescribed limits, had excessive differences compared with surrounding values, or had pressure values more than 0.5db less than the preceding scan. Scans containing suspect values were removed. Edited values were averaged over 30 scans corresponding to a 1 second average and a pressure change of between 0.5 and 1db. Calibration corrections were applied and salinity calculated.

The CTD was fitted with a fast response thermistor; therefore no time lag correction was required.

There were no significant gaps in the data. Salinity has been calculated in Practical Salinity Units, as recommended by UNESCO. The data set consists of 30 scan averaged data, linearly interpolated to 2db intervals.

Note that the latitudes supplied for stations 2/47 and 2/138 have been amended as follows:

Station Latitude supplied Amended Latitude
2/47 21° 29.53' N 21° 59.53' N
2/138 23° 20.40' N 22° 20.40' N

The latitudes supplied gave rise to unrealistic speeds for RRS Shackleton between stations. It has not been possible to check with the data originator whether these amendments are correct.


Fofonoff, N.P. and Millard Jr., R.C. (1983).
Algorithms for the computation of fundamental properties of sea water. UNESCO Technical Paper on Marine Science 44.

Project Information

No Project Information held for the Series

Data Activity or Cruise Information


Cruise Name S2/81
Departure Date 1981-10-14
Arrival Date 1981-11-17
Principal Scientist(s)Peter Hughes (University of Liverpool Department of Oceanography)
Ship RRS Shackleton

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