European Directory of Marine Environmental Data (EDMED)

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Porcupine Abyssal Plain Observatory Datasets

Data holding centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
ProjectEuropean Ocean Observatory Network(EuroSITES); Biophysical Interactions and Controls on Export Production (BICEP)(BICEP)
Time periodFrom 7th October 2002 - ongoing
Geographical area

PAP (Porcupine Abyssal Plain) Observatory is centred at 49N, 16.5W but some of the moorings were not deployed exactly at this location.


Air pressure; Air temperature; Atmospheric humidity; Chlorophyll pigment concentrations in water bodies; Wind strength and direction; Sedimentation flux quantification in the water column; Nitrite concentration parameters in the water column; Partial pressure (pCO2) and fugacity (fCO2) of carbon dioxide in the water column; Horizontal velocity of the water column (currents); Dissolved concentration parameters for other gases in the water column; Temperature of the water column; Visible waveband radiance and irradiance measurements in the water column; Wave height and period statistics; Salinity of the water column; Skin temperature of the water column; Nitrate concentration parameters in the water column; Dissolved oxygen parameters in the water column


Current meters; radiometers; sediment traps; salinity sensor; dissolved gas sensors; platform attitude sensors; elecromagnetic sensors; nutrient analysers; water temperature sensor


The Porcupine Abyssal Plain (PAP) Observatory is a sustained, multidisciplinary observatory. Key time-series datasets include measurements of sea temperature, air temperature, air pressure, waves, wind, CO2, salinity, Megafauna (Species diversity, abundance and biomass), geochemistry, humidity, chlorophyll, nitrate, PAR and currents. The PAP observatory is situated in the Northeast Atlantic away from the continental slope and mid Atlantic ridge (49N,16.5W, depth 4800m). Since 1989, this environmental study site in the Northeast Atlantic has become a major focus for international and interdisciplinary scientific research and monitoring including water column biogeochemistry, physics and benthic biology. Since 2002, a mooring has been in place with sensors taking a diverse set of biogeochemical and physical measurements of the upper 1000m of the water column. Some of these data are transmitted in near real-time via satellite. A diverse range of Essential Climate variables are measured and sampled at the PAP site from the atmosphere and surface ocean to the seafloor. The instruments used include CTD + Backscatter; ADCP (2 way, re-programmable for water profiling as well as burst sampling), Seismometer (2 way, retrieval of selected time period - 1 Minute - in the past e.g. seismic event), Bottom Pressure Sensor, Sediment trap (2 way, re-programmable for change sampling interval), Boxcores, Mega- and Multicores, Optode, Digital Camera and Stand-alone hydrophone. Seafloor sampling includes trawling, coring, towed camera systems from a research ship and time-lapse photography. Since 2002 many of the upper ocean measurements (0-1000m) have been transmitted in near real-time. There is a growing need for ever more accurate climatic models to predict future climate change and the impact this will have on human settlement, the insurance industry, fisheries, agriculture and nature at large. Long term observations at fixed points in the open oceans are essential to provide high quality and high resolution data to increase our knowledge of how our oceans function, how they are changing and how this may impact on the climate. The observatory is coordinated by the National Oceanography Centre. In 2010, a collaboration between NERC and UK Met Office has led to the first atmospheric measurements at the site.

OriginatorsNational Oceanography Centre, Southampton

Priede, I.G., Godbold, J.A., King, N.J., et al. (2010) Deep-sea demersal fish species richness in the Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic Ocean: global and regional patterns., ; Christiansen, B., Buhring, S.I., Pfannkuche, O., et al. (2010) The near-bottom plankton community at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain, NE-Atlantic: Structure and vertical distribution., ; Benitez-Villalobos, F., Diaz-Martinez, J.P. (2010) Reproductive patterns of the abyssal asteroid Styracaster elongatus from the NE Atlantic Ocean.01/07/2010, ; Steinhoff, T., Friedrich, T., Hartman, S.E., Oschlies, A., Wallace, D.W.R., Koertzinger, A. (2010) Estimating mixed layer nitrate in the North Atlantic Ocean01/0, ; Steinhoff, T., Friedrich, T., Hartman, S.E., Oschlies, A., Wallace, D.W.R., and Körtzinger, A. (2010) Estimating mixed layer nitrate in the North Atlantic Ocean,

Data web site
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)782 512 0946
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1048PAP_OBS
Global identifier5912
Last revised2017-06-08