UK World Ocean Circulation Experiment

A CTD deployment during a UK WOCE cruise
A CTD deployment during a UK WOCE cruise ©

World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE)

WOCE, a major international project concerned with global scale deep ocean measurements and modelling, was part of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Its aim was to improve our understanding of how ocean circulation affects the Earth's climate.

The field phase of the project lasted from 1990 - 1998 and measurements were made by nearly 30 nations in four of the world's oceans. WOCE also utilised global observations provided by satellites and existing physical and chemical stations.

The UK's contribution

UK WOCE, hosted by the Southampton Oceanography Centre (SOC), was the UK's contribution to the project. It concentrated primarily on the North Atlantic and Southern oceans. Research took place at universities, NERC centres, government laboratories and agencies. Data were collected from 98 research cruises and involved eight UK vessels. SOC is now the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS).

BODC's role

BODC was responsible for all data from UK WOCE. Our role was

  • To make the UK WOCE data easily accessible to the UK WOCE scientists
  • To transfer data to Data Assembly Centres (DACs), Special Analysis Centres (SACs) and international data centres
  • To archive all of the data collected by the UK WOCE field programme — guaranteeing that all data would be accessible and of value to scientists in years ahead

The UK WOCE data set

The UK WOCE data set includes over 3200 CTD profiles, 28,000 water bottle samples, 5400 SeaSoar profiles, 900 XBT profiles, 167,000 ADCP profiles and surface underway data from the following cruises

  • North Atlantic
    • RRS Charles Darwin: 58, 59, 62, 62A, 68,78.
    • RRS Discovery: 223, 230, 233.
    • Rockall Section (1975 - 1998).
  • South Atlantic and the Drake Passage
    • RRS Discovery: 199 (A11).
    • RRS James Clark Ross: 10(A23), 0a, 0b, 16, 27.
  • Southern Indian Ocean
    • RRS Discovery: 200, 201, 207, 213, 214.

The data were included on the WOCE Global Data Version 3.0 DVD. Data are also held in BODC's databases so subsets may be obtained by request from the BODC Enquiries Officer.

UK World Ocean Circulation Experiment