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Metadata Report for BODC Series Reference Number 776511

Metadata Summary

Data Description

Data Category CTD or STD cast
Instrument Type
Sea-Bird SBE 43 Dissolved Oxygen Sensor  dissolved gas sensors
Chelsea Technologies Group Aquatracka fluorometer  fluorometers
Sea-Bird SBE 911plus CTD  CTD; water temperature sensor; salinity sensor
Chelsea Technologies Group Alphatracka transmissometer  transmissometers
Instrument Mounting lowered unmanned submersible
Originating Country United Kingdom
Originator Ms Jane Read
Originating Organization National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Processing Status banked
Online delivery of data Download available - Ocean Data View (ODV) format
Project(s) -

Data Identifiers

Originator's Identifier CTD16150
BODC Series Reference 776511

Time Co-ordinates(UT)

Start Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 2006-10-22 17:48
End Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 2006-10-22 18:21
Nominal Cycle Interval 2.0 decibars

Spatial Co-ordinates

Latitude 57.53833 N ( 57° 32.3' N )
Longitude 12.76000 W ( 12° 45.6' W )
Positional Uncertainty Unspecified
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Depth 3.0 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Depth 1459.0 m
Minimum Sensor or Sampling Height -5.0 m
Maximum Sensor or Sampling Height 1451.0 m
Sea Floor Depth 1454.0 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
AADYAA011DaysDate (time from 00:00 01/01/1760 to 00:00 UT on day)
AAFDZZ011DaysTime (time between 00:00 UT and timestamp)
ACYCAA011DimensionlessSequence number
CNDCST011Siemens per metreElectrical conductivity of the water body by CTD
CNDCST021Siemens per metreElectrical conductivity of the water body by CTD (sensor 2)
CPHLPM011Milligrams 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 and manufacturer's calibration applied
DOXYSC011Micromoles per litreConcentration of oxygen {O2 CAS 7782-44-7} per unit volume of the water body [dissolved plus reactive particulate phase] by Sea-Bird SBE 43 sensor and calibration against sample data
POPTDR011PercentTransmittance (red light wavelength) per 25cm of the water body by 25cm path length red light transmissometer
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
PSALCC021DimensionlessPractical salinity of the water body by CTD (second sensor) and computation using UNESCO 1983 algorithm and calibration against independent measurements
TEMPCU011Degrees CelsiusTemperature of the water body by CTD and NO verification against independent measurements
TEMPCU021Degrees CelsiusTemperature of the water body by CTD (second sensor) and NO verification against independent measurements

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

Sea-Bird Dissolved Oxygen Sensor SBE 43 and SBE 43F

The SBE 43 is a dissolved oxygen sensor designed for marine applications. It incorporates a high-performance Clark polarographic membrane with a pump that continuously plumbs water through it, preventing algal growth and the development of anoxic conditions when the sensor is taking measurements.

Two configurations are available: SBE 43 produces a voltage output and can be incorporated with any Sea-Bird CTD that accepts input from a 0-5 volt auxiliary sensor, while the SBE 43F produces a frequency output and can be integrated with an SBE 52-MP (Moored Profiler CTD) or used for OEM applications. The specifications below are common to both.


Housing Plastic or titanium

0.5 mil- fast response, typical for profile applications

1 mil- slower response, typical for moored applications

Depth rating

600 m (plastic) or 7000 m (titanium)

10500 m titanium housing available on request

Measurement range 120% of surface saturation
Initial accuracy 2% of saturation
Typical stability 0.5% per 1000 h

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

Instrument Description

CTD Unit and Auxiliary Sensors

A total of 65 CTD casts were undertaken on this cruise using a Seabird 911 plus CTD unit (s/n 09P-37898-0782) with 24 way rosette (SBE32 24WAY rosette 32-0344) provided with 20L bottles. A list of calibrated parameters and instrumentation used is shown below.

Parameter Instrument Serial number Calibration
Pressure SBE Pressure 94756 Calibrated 15/4/2004 corrected with on deck measurements
Temperature Two SBE3 Premium temperature sensor fitted to CTD 03P-2728 and 03P-4490 Calibrated by manufacturer 15/06/06 (03P-2728) and 11/06/2006 (03P-4490)
Conductivity Sea-Bird 4 conductivity sensor 04C-2851 and 04C-2450 Calibrated by Manufacturer 09/06/006 and 15/06/06 respectively
Oxygen Concentration Sea-Bird 43 dissolved oxygen sensor 0612 Calibrated by Manufacturer 24/11/2005
Fluorometer Chelsea Aquatracka 3 Fluorometer 088108 Calibrated by Manufacturer 17/11/2004 and from bottle samples
Transmissometer Chelsea Alphatracka MKII Transmissometer 04-4223-001 Calibrated by Manufacturer 08/12/2004
Backscatter meter WETLabs scattering meter BBRTD 169 Calibrated by Manufacturer 07/07/2005

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.

Chelsea Technologies Group ALPHAtracka and ALPHAtracka II transmissometers

The Chelsea Technologies Group ALPHAtracka (the Mark I) and its successor, the ALPHAtracka II (the Mark II), are both accurate (< 0.3 % fullscale) transmissometers that measure the beam attenuation coefficient at 660 nm. Green (565 nm), yellow (590 nm) and blue (470 nm) wavelength variants are available on special order.

The instrument consists of a Transmitter/Reference Assembly and a Detector Assembly aligned and spaced apart by an open support frame. The housing and frame are both manufactured in titanium and are pressure rated to 6000 m depth.

The Transmitter/Reference housing is sealed by an end cap. Inside the housing an LED light source emits a collimated beam through a sealed window. The Detector housing is also sealed by an end cap. A signal photodiode is placed behind a sealed window to receive the collimated beam from the Transmitter.

The primary difference between the ALPHAtracka and ALPHAtracka II is that the Alphatracka II is implemented with surface-mount technology; this has enabled a much smaller diameter pressure housing to be used while retaining exactly the same optical train as in the Mark I. Data from the Mark II version are thus fully compatible with that already obtained with the Mark I. The performance of the Mark II is further enhanced by two electronic developments from Chelsea Technologies Group - firstly, all items are locked in a signal nulling loop of near infinite gain and, secondly, the signal output linearity is inherently defined by digital circuitry only.

Among other advantages noted above, these features ensure that the optical intensity of the Mark II, indicated by the output voltage, is accurately represented by a straight line interpolation between a reading near full-scale under known conditions and a zero reading when blanked off.

For optimum measurements in a wide range of environmental conditions, the Mark I and Mark II are available in 5 cm, 10 cm and 25 cm path length versions. Output is default factory set to 2.5 volts but can be adjusted to 5 volts on request.

Further details about the Mark II instrument are available from the Chelsea Technologies Group ALPHAtrackaII specification sheet.

BODC processing and screening

Reformatting the data

The CTD data were supplied to BODC as processed 2db Pstar files. The Pstar files were converted (using transfer trn360) into BODC internal QXF format (a BODC-defined subset of NetCDF). BODC parameter codes are used to map any variable measured. Null data were set to the appropriate absent data values for the code in the BODC parameter dictionary and flagged 'N', data outside parameter dictionary range flagged 'M' and already flagged data given an 'L' flag.

Originator's Variable Units Description BODC Parameter BODC units Comments
Press dbar Pressure (spatial coordinate) exerted by the water column by profiling pressure sensor and corrected to read zero at sea level. PRESPR01 dbar None
Temp deg C Temperature from primary sensor TEMPCU01 deg C None
Temp2 deg C Temperature from the secondary sensor TEMPCU02 deg C None
Cond mS/cm Electrical conductivity of the water column by CTD primary sensor CNDCST01 S/m Converted from mS/cm during transfer to QXF
Cond2 mS/cm Electrical conductivity of the water column by CTD secondary sensor CNDCST02 S/m Converted from mS/cm during transfer to QXF
Salin psu Salinity from the primary sensors PSALCC01 psu None
Salin2 psu Salinity from the secondary sensors PSALCC02 psu None
Fluor ug/l Concentration of chlorophyll-a {chl-a} per unit volume of the water body [particulate phase] by in-situ chlorophyll fluorometer and manufacturer's calibration applied CPHLPM01 Milligrams per cubic metre None
Oxygen uM/l Concentration of oxygen (O2) per unit volume of the water column (dissolved phase) by Sea-Bird SBE 42 sensor and calibration against sample data DOXYSC01 uM/l None
Oxyv volts Raw output from the oxygen sensor - - Not transferred
Trans % Transmittance (red light wavelength) per 25cm of the water body by 25cm path length red light transmissometer POPTDR01 % None
BBRTD volts Instrument output (voltage) by WET Labs optical backscatter meter - - Not transfered due to fault with the sensor
Sigma0 Kg/m3 - - - Not transferred
potemp deg.c Potential temperature from the primary sensor - - Not transferred
potemp2 deg.c Potential temperature from the secondary sensor - - Not transferred


Reformatted CTD data were transferred onto a graphics work station for visualisation using the in-house editor EDSERPLO. EDSERPLO provides a graphical representation of the data so that parameters can be visually checked for inaccuracies. Checks include identifying anomalous data spikes, gaps in the data and values that lie outside of expected limits for the instrument or environment. No data values were edited or deleted so any suspicious data can be viewed and accepted or rejected by the viewer. Flagging was achieved by modification of the associated quality control flag.

Originators Data Processing

Sampling strategy

The aim of the RSS Discovery cruise (D312) was to sample the extended Ellett Line. A total of 65 stations were sampled, 17 on the Ellett Line extension, 21 on the Ellett Line, 15 on Line 'G' and 3 at sediment trap sites. A list of stations sampled for various measurements is included in the cruise report.

The Extended Ellett line is important oceanographically because it completes the measurements of the warm saline water flowing into the Nordic Seas from the eastern North Atlantic.

Data processing

CTD data was fully processed using SBE Seawave Win32 V5.35 software followed by Pstar processing to clean and reduce the data to 2db. SeaBird CTD processing routines were used as follows:
Raw CTD data (.dat) was converted from enginering units using the calibration information provided in the configuration file (.con). AlignCTD was run to shift the dissolved oxygen sensor output relative to the pressure data by 5 seconds to compensate for lags in the sensor response time. The CellTM program was run to remove the effect of thermal 'inertia' on the conductivity cells, using alpha = 0.03 and beta = 1/7 (the SeaBird recommended values for SBE911+ pumped system). Binary data files were de-spiked using WildEdit and then converted into ASCII format. The Pstar processing transfered the data files from ASCII format to Pstar binary format, smoothed the pressure, temperature and conductivity data by running a 5 point median, averaged the data to 10 second intervals and extracted the down cast date which was averaged to 2db.

Field Calibrations


Independent salinity samples, obtained from the CTD rosette, were used to calibrate the CTD conductivity data. Differences between bottle and CTD conductivity were plotted by station. There was a significant offset between the two CTD sensors. An offset with time was also noted, with residuals varying from about -0.003 to +0.002. The sequence of stations was therefore divided into segments and, excluding outliers, the mean conductivity ratio (bottle/CTD) calculated for each segment. The resulting ratios (see cruise report) were used to correct the CTD data. Following calibration the new bottle-CTD conductivity and salinity residuals were calculated and plotted against station and pressure. Salinities are believed to be good to better than 0.002.


Differences between oxygen bottle samples and CTD sensor data were plotted against station. This showed a significant offset between the two and a noticeable drift with time. Unfortunately only two samples per cast were collected on the last 24 casts making it difficult to distinguish between scatter and drift. A simple straight line fit between bottle and CTD oxygen was estimated ignoring outliers and bias to shallow stations:

new oxygen = CTD oxygen * 0.63 + 51.6

The resulting residuals were plotted against station and a series of offsets estimated to make a final correction.

Project Information

No Project Information held for the Series

Data Activity or Cruise Information


Cruise Name D312
Departure Date 2006-10-11
Arrival Date 2006-10-31
Principal Scientist(s)John T Allen (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton)
Ship RRS Discovery

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