North Sea Project

The North Sea - an important resource
The North Sea - an important resource ©


The North Sea is an important resource shared by many nations with a wide range of potentially conflicting activities. The ultimate aim of the North Sea Project was to develop computer based models which would

Who coordinated the project?

The Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL), now the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) hosted the project. It involved over 200 scientists and support staff from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and other academic institutes. MAFF is now the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

It was NERC’s first Marine Community Research Project and ran from 1987 to 1992. The full economic cost of the project exceeded £15 M.

BODC was responsible for the management of all data from the project.


Data were collected by 39 cruises between August 1988 and October 1990. These consisted of

What data were collected?

Measurements and studies of physical, chemical, biological and sediment processes were performed by oceanographers aboard the research vessel (RRS Challenger). Types of data included

  • Conductivity (for salinity)
  • Nutrients
  • Temperature
  • Current speed and direction
  • Depth
  • Phytoplankton and zooplankton abundance
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Dissolved and particulate trace metals
  • Transmittance (for suspended sediment)
  • Primary and bacterial production
  • Fluorescence (for chlorophyll)
  • Organo-sulphur compounds (e.g. dimethylsulphide) and halocarbons
  • Irradiance
  • Atmosphere and rain water chemistry


How were the data collected?

Equipment deployed from the research vessel which collected these data included

Order the data set

The full data set has been published by BODC on CDROM complete with documentation.

The data are also stored in BODC's databanks and are part of the pool of data available to anyone interested in oceanographic research. Contact the BODC Enquiries Officer for further information.

Related BODC pages

The North Sea Project CDROM      Collaborative products
BODC data products      Other links

Related external links

National Oceanography Centre (NOC)
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)