European Directory of Marine Environmental Data (EDMED)

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Data set name

Dover-Sangatte (Dover Strait) cable voltage series (1955-1969)

Data holding centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
Time periodFrom 1955 to 1965, from 1968 to 1969
Geographical area

Dover Strait, English Channel


Air pressure; Electrical conductivity of the water column; Wind strength and direction; Vertical velocity of the water column (currents); Salinity of the water column; Horizontal velocity of the water column (currents); Temperature of the water column


Anemometers; meteorological packages; sea level recorders; current meters; salinity sensor


The data set comprises continuous hourly recordings of electrical potential across the Dover Strait, which relate to the flux of water, over the period 1955-1965 and part of 1968-1969, together with parallel measurements of sea temperature and pressure. Voltages on telegraph cables were measured almost continuously by pen recording milliammeters installed at Dover since 1954. The d.c. potential between the inner conductor of the cable and its screen is measured through a 2.2 kohm resistor in series with a milliammeter, whose internal resistance was of order 1 kohm. The screen was earthed at both the English and French ends, and at the French end the conductor is also effectively earthed (through inductive elements) as far as low frequency voltage variations were concerned. Thus the voltage recorded at St. Margaret's Bay is effectively the difference in earth potentials between the particular coastal points in England and France. A 0.003F capacitance in parallel with the milliammeter shunted out voltage variations with time scales less than about half a minute. For calibration, a standard voltage cell was switched in place of the cable on occasions. For parallel measurements of sea temperature (related to conductivity) and local wind conditions, 6-hourly temperatures and barometric pressures from the Noord Hinder Light Vessel, the pressures from the Terschellinger Bank Light Vessel and the 6-hourly pressures from Gorlston (East Anglia) were used. Data for sea salinity at the Varne Light Vessel were extracted from International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) publications.

OriginatorsInstitute of Oceanographic Sciences, Bidston Laboratory

Alcock, G.A. and Cartwright, D.E. (1977) An analysis of 10 years' voltage records from the Dover-Sangatte cable., IOS Report

OrganisationBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
ContactPolly Hadžiabdić (Head of the BODC Requests Team)

British Oceanographic Data Centre
Joseph Proudman Building 6 Brownlow Street
L3 5DA
United Kingdom

Telephone+44 (0) 151 795 4884
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1048037
Global identifier178
Last revised2010-09-28