Planned maintenance — 18th January 2018 12:00 to 22nd January 2018 09:00 [more]

Metadata Report for BODC Series Reference Number 978360

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 Prof Andy Watson
Originating Organization Plymouth Marine Laboratory (now Marine Biological Association of the UK)
Processing Status banked
Project(s) WOCE

Data Identifiers

Originator's Identifier CTD185
BODC Series Reference 978360

Time Co-ordinates(UT)

Start Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) 1993-05-11 17:01
End Time (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm) -
Nominal Cycle Interval 1.0 decibars

Spatial Co-ordinates

Latitude 24.49533 N ( 24° 29.7' N )
Longitude 36.62900 W ( 36° 37.7' W )
Positional Uncertainty 0.0 to 0.01 n.miles
Minimum Sensor Depth 9.94 m
Maximum Sensor Depth 495.21 m
Minimum Sensor Height 5195.21 m
Maximum Sensor Height 5680.48 m
Sea Floor Depth 5690.42 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 Chart reference - Depth extracted from available chart


BODC CODE Rank Units Short Title Title
POTMCV01 1 Degrees Celsius WC_Potemp Potential temperature of the water body by computation using UNESCO 1983 algorithm
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
SIGTPR01 1 Kilograms per cubic metre SigTheta Sigma-theta of the water body by CTD and computation from salinity and potential temperature using UNESCO 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

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 Charles Darwin 78 CTD Data Documentation


CTD profile data are presented from the North Atlantic Tracer Release Experiment cruise Charles Darwin 78 as reported by Watson & Ledwell et al. (1993).

Instrumentation and Methodology

Instrumentation Summary

The CTD profiles were taken with a Neil Brown Systems MkIII CTD (s/n 01-1195) mounted beneath a bottle rosette. The CTD was fitted with a pressure sensor, conductivity cell, and a platinum resistance thermometer.

Data Acquisition

Lowering speeds were about 30m/min to 50m and then slowly increased to about 60m/min to 500m.

A total of 207 casts were conducted (001 - 241). There were no casts in the numbering sequence 066 - 099.

Data Processing

The raw data were averaged down to 1db values.


A laboratory temperature calibration performed just prior to the cruise indicated that the primary PRT was within 0.0005°C of the bath standard. No adjustment was made for a temperature offset.


The pressure sensor read high by 4.7db at the surface, and this amount was subtracted from all pressures throughout the cruise.


Salinity samples taken on each cast showed the salinity reading from the system to be low by 0.028-0.029psu during the first few stations. The constants in the acquisition system had already been set to compensate for a raw salinity that was low by 0.018psu. Thus, another 0.011psu were added to the salinity calculated using these constants.

Note: the cruise report goes on to say that the CTD was re-calibrated after station 53. Archived data for stations 1-53 were re-calculated using the new calibration.

BODC Data Processing

No further calibrations were applied to the data received by BODC. BODC were mainly concerned with the screening and banking of the data. BODC have not received the CTD data from casts 218 and 241.

The CTD data were received as 1db averaged pressure sorted down cast data. Parameters were pressure (dbar), temperature (its-90) and salinity (pss-78).

The data were converted into the BODC internal format (PXF) to allow the use of in-house software tools, notably the graphics editor. Spikes in the data were manually flagged 'suspect' by modification of the associated quality control flag. In this way none of the original data values were edited or deleted during quality control.

Some files had bad final few cycles where pressure was over ~500db and these cycles were deleted. Also, had to edit out from 10-70db for cast 6 because T+S were corrupt.

Very little flagging was required for these data.

Once screened, the CTD data were loaded into a database under the Oracle relational database management system. The start time stored in the database is the CTD deployment time, and the end time is the start time + 60 minutes. 1 day was subtracted from all these times after comparison with the cruise report.


Watson, A.J. & Ledwell, J.R. et al. (1993). RRS Charles Darwin Cruise CD78, The North Atlantic Tracer Release Experiment: Final Sampling Leg. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Cruise Report.

Project Information

World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE)

The World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) was a major international experiment which made measurements and undertook modelling studies of the deep oceans in order to provide a much improved understanding of the role of ocean circulation in changing and ameliorating the Earth's climate.

WOCE had two major goals:


The UK made a substantial contribution to the international World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) project by focusing on two important regions:

  1. Southern Ocean - links all the worlds oceans, controlling global climate.
  2. North Atlantic - directly affects the climate of Europe.

A major part of the UK effort was in the Southern Ocean and work included:

In the North Atlantic the UK undertook:

Satellite ocean surface topography, temperature and wind data were merged with in situ observations and models to create a complete description of ocean circulation, eddy motion and the way the ocean is driven by the atmosphere.

The surveys were forerunners to the international Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). GOOS was later established to monitor annual to decadal changes in ocean circulation and heat storage which are vital in the prediction of climate change.

Data Activity or Cruise Information


No Cruise Information Available for this Series

Complete Cruise Metadata Report is available here

Fixed Station Information

Fixed Station Information

Station NameWOCE Atlantic Area 10 (AR10)
CategoryOffshore area
Latitude27° 0.00' N
Longitude32° 30.00' W
Water depth below MSL

World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) Atlantic Area 10 (AR10)

WOCE was a major international experiment which made measurements and undertook modelling studies of the deep oceans in order to provide a much improved understanding of the role of ocean circulation in changing and ameliorating the Earth's climate. WOCE established numerous areas and repeat sections in the Atlantic Ocean as illustrated in the map below.

BODC image

The AR10 'Beta-triangle' experiments where centred at 27.0°N, 32.5°W in the southwestern end of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, with the area occupied between May 1992 to May 1993. A table of all AR10 cruises is presented below:

Cruise Cruise dates Country
Charles Darwin 68 1992-05-08 to 1992-06-08 UK
Oceanus 1992-09-21 to 1992-10-21 USA
Oceanus 1992-10-29 to 1992-11-16 USA
Hudson 1993-04-05 to 1993-05-14 Canada
Charles Darwin 78 1993-04-22 to 1993-05-24 UK

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