We catalog here a number of datasets that may be useful for the evaluation of ocean model simulations, along with a short description of the product, a link to the web site serving the data. It is anticipated that comments will later be provided on the how these datasets are best used for the purpose of evaluating ocean simulations.We solicit comments and suggestions on further datasets useful for the evaluation of ocean model simulations, as well as comments on the utility of various datasets for such evaluations. In particular, we ask for the following information when referring us to further datasets:
1/ The type of data to be used;
2/ An appropriate metric to use for comparison with model results;
3/ Thoughts on how to judge the quality of model (or other) results based on this particular metric;
4/ A location where appropriate data can be found in a form that modelers can easily use (e.g. a website and contact person);
5/ An indication of the verification that this metric should provide;
6/ References where more detailed information can be found.
Please send contributions and details of further datasets that should be included in this list to Anna Pirani.
- CLIVAR Carbon and Hydrographic Sections
- WOCE Global Hydrographic Climatology
- NODC World Ocean Database and World Ocean Atlas Series (Levitus)
- ENSEMBLES (EN3)
- NOAA Global Drifter Program (GDF)
- NOAA High Density XBT Lines
- NOAA Global Temperature-Salinity Profile Program (GTSPP)
- Polar science center Hydrographic Climatology (PHC)
- International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS)
- CSIRO Atlas of Regional Seas (CARS)
- Ocean SITES
- Godae High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature Pilot Projetc (GHRSST-PP)
- Hadley Centre Sea Ice and Sea Surface Temperature data set (HadISST)
- Hadley Centre SST data set (HadSST2)
- HadDTR: Hadley Centre sea-surface temperature diurnal temperature range climatology
- Merged Hadley - OI.v2 SST and Sea Ice Concentration dataset
- PMEL TAO/TRITON (Tropical Atmosphere Ocean/ Triangle Trans-Ocean Buoy Network) Project
- Pilot Research Moored Array in the Atlantic (PIRATA)
- Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS)
- Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS)
- Florida Current Transport
The CLIVAR Ocean Sythesis Directory has a comprehensive list of Ocean Synthesis/Reanalysis Efforts, including detailed information on the model domain, resolution, assimilated data, assimilation method, the forcing and relaxation used, and links to the products.
Data Quality Control
Bias in in-situ data and ocean heat content due to systematic errors common to multiple instruments (WHOI SDI, ARGO SB floats, XBT).
Joshua Willis (JPL) has agreed to act as the contact for questions regarding in-situ data.
The WOCE Global Hydrographic Climatology WGHC (published as BSH Report 35, 2004) provides a hydrographic gridded full-depth data set on 45 depth levels with a 0.5° spatial resolution. High quality hydrographic observations from the WOCE one-time and repeat hydrographic cruises with ca. 9000 stations for the period 1990 - 1998 are the modern basis.
The reference observed data set, comprising WOCE and high quality cruises occupied after 1970 (a total of 19867 profiles distributed over 384 cruises) is used to quality control a historical data set of older cruises occupied mostly before 1970 and profiles not included in the high-quality subset (a total of 1,039,668 profiles distributed over ca. 42,000 cruises).
For the WGHC climatology the original profile data have been isopycnically averaged using optimal interpolation. Seven parameters subjected to a strict quality control are given: temperature, potential temperature, salinity, oxygen, silicate, nitrate, phosphate.
Gouretski, V.V., K.P. Koltermann, 2004: WOCE Global Hydrographic Climatology, A Technical Report, Berichte des BSH, Nr. 35
- The World Ocean Database 2005 (WOD05) is an update of World Ocean Database 2001 (Conkright et al, 2002). All data are available online presorted by 10° geographic squares, by year or by user specified criteria.
Boyer,T. P., J.I. Antonov, H.E. Garcia, D.R. Johnson, R.A. Locarnini, A.V. Mishonov, M.T. Pitcher, O.K. Baranova, I.V. Smolyar, 2006. World Ocean Database 2005. S. Levitus, Ed., NOAA Atlas NESDIS 60, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 190 pp.
- The World Ocean Atlas 2005 (WOA05) is a set of objectively analyzed (1° grid) climatological fields of in situ temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, Apparent Oxygen Utilization (AOU), percent oxygen saturation, phosphate, silicate, and nitrate at standard depth levels for annual, seasonal, and monthly compositing periods for the World Ocean. It also includes associated statistical fields of observed oceanographic profile data interpolated to standard depth levels on both 1° and 5° grids.
Citation for WOA05 Temperature
Locarnini, R. A., A. V. Mishonov, J. I. Antonov, T. P. Boyer, and H. E. Garcia, 2006. World Ocean Atlas 2005, Volume 1: Temperature. S. Levitus, Ed. NOAA Atlas NESDIS 61, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 182 pp.
Citation for WOA05 Salinity
Antonov, J. I., R. A. Locarnini, T. P. Boyer, A. V. Mishonov, and H. E. Garcia, 2006. World Ocean Atlas 2005, Volume 2: Salinity. S. Levitus, Ed. NOAA Atlas NESDIS 62, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 182 pp.
Citation for WOA05 Oxygen
Garcia, H. E., R. A. Locarnini, T. P. Boyer, and J. I. Antonov, 2006. World Ocean Atlas 2005, Volume 3: Dissolved Oxygen, Apparent Oxygen Utilization, and Oxygen Saturation. S. Levitus, Ed. NOAA Atlas NESDIS 63, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 342 pp.
Citation for WOA05 Nutrients
Garcia, H. E., R. A. Locarnini, T. P. Boyer, and J. I. Antonov, 2006. World Ocean Atlas 2005, Volume 4: Nutrients (phosphate, nitrate, silicate). S. Levitus, Ed. NOAA Atlas NESDIS 64, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 396 pp.
The EN3 data set contains global, sub-surface ocean profiles of temperature and salinity for 1950-2006 inclusive. They were quality controlled using a comprehensive set of objective checks developed at the Met Office Hadley Centre - drawing on documented procedures from other centres where appropriate. The quality control was applied consistently over the whole period, and the checked profiles are output in a uniform format (NetCDF).
The profiles were obtained primarily from the WORLD OCEAN DATABASE 2005, but this was supplemented using data from other sources: GTSPP for 1990 onwards and the USGODAE Argo Global Data Assembly Center (GDAC) for Argo data from 1999 onwards. The processing was performed for the EU supported project ENSEMBLES. Earlier quality control development and processing was performed for the EU ENACT project. A useful by-product of the system is a "model-free" monthly objective analysis, see Ingleby and Huddleston (2007) for details.
The AOML Drifter Operations Center manages the deployment of drifting buoys around the world. Using research ships, Volunteer Observation Ships (VOS) and aircraft, Lagrangian drifters are placed in areas of interest. Once verified operational, they are reported to AOML's Drifter Data Assembly Center. The DAC then assembles and provides uniform quality control of surface velocity measurements and sea surface temperature measurements.
To measure the upper ocean thermal structure in the center of the subtropical gyre in the North Atlantic (AX7), and the South Atlantic (AX18 ) and ( AX25), to investigate the meridional structure at the subtropical gyre and Gilf Stream in the North Atlantic (AX10), to characterize both the mean and the time-dependent upper ocean properties of the tropical portion of the Meridional Overturning Circulation and of the shallow Subtropical Cell in the Tropical Atlantic (AX8).
The Global Temperature and Salinity Profile Program (GTSPP) is a cooperative international project to develop and maintain a global ocean Temperature-Salinity resource from bottle measurements, XBT measurements, profiling floats and moored buoys. It is a joint World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) project.
Public access to the GTSPP data can be done in the following ways: user-defined datasets via the GTSPP Web Interface, real-time datasets and best copy datasets (Delayed mode data that includes the full resolution data from XBTs or CTDs from ships, or fully processed and quality controlled data from the organizations that provided the real time low resolution data to the GTS, which replace the real-time dataset once available).
A Global Ocean Hydrography with a High Quality Arctic Ocean. A new gridded ocean climatology has been created that merges the 1998 version of the World Ocean Atlas with the regional Arctic Ocean Atlas of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Joint U.S.-Russian Atlas of the Arctic Ocean. The result is a global climatology for temperature and salinity that contains a good description of the Arctic Ocean and its environs. Monthly, seasonal, and annual average products have been generated.
As the result of a US project starting in 1981, available global surface marine data from the late 17th century to date have been assembled, quality controlled, and made widely available to the international research community in products of the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (COADS). A new name, International COADS (ICOADS), was agreed in 2002 to recognize the multinational input to the blended observational database and other benefits gained from extensive international collaboration, while maintaining continuity of identity with COADS, which has been widely used and referenced.
ICOADS data are made available in two primary forms:
- Observations: Surface marine reports from ships, buoys, and other platform types. Each report contains individual observations of meteorological and oceanographic variables, such as sea surface and air temperatures, wind, pressure, humidity, and cloudiness.
- Monthly summary statistics: Ten statistics (such as the mean and median) are calculated for each of 22 observed and derived variables, using 2° latitude x 2° longitude boxes back to 1800 (and 1°x1° boxes since 1960).
The available fields are:
- sea surface temperature
- air temperature
- sealevel presssure
- relative humidity
CARS is a digital climatology, or atlas of seasonal ocean water properties. It comprises gridded fields of mean ocean properties over the period of modern ocean measurement, and average seasonal cycles for that period. It is derived from a quality-controlled archive of all available historical subsurface ocean property measurements - primarily research vessel instrument profiles and autonomous profiling buoys. As data availability has enormously increased in recent years, the CARS mean values are inevitably biased towards the recent ocean state.
The Met Office Hadley Centre's sea ice and sea surface temperature (SST) data set is a combination of monthly globally-complete fields of SST and sea ice concentration on a 1 degree latitude-longitude grid from 1870 to date.
The SST data are taken from the Met Office Marine Data Bank (MDB), which from 1982 onwards also includes data received through the Global Telecommunications System (GTS). In order to enhance data coverage, monthly median SSTs for 1871-1995 from the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (COADS) (now ICOADS) were also used where there were no MDB data. The sea ice data are taken from a variety of sources including digitized sea ice charts and passive microwave retrievals.
HadISST1 temperatures are reconstructed using a two stage reduced-space optimal interpolation procedure, followed by superposition of quality-improved gridded observations onto the reconstructions to restore local detail. The sea ice fields are made more homogeneous by compensating satellite microwave-based sea ice concentrations for the impact of surface melt effects on retrievals in the Arctic and for algorithm deficiencies in the Antarctic, and by making the historical in situ concentrations consistent with the satellite data. SSTs near sea ice are estimated using statistical relationships between SST and sea ice concentration.
Rayner, N. A., D. E. Parker, E. B. Horton, C. K. Folland, L. V. Alexander, D. P. Rowell, E. C. Kent, and A. Kaplan, 2003: Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century J. Geophys. Res.Vol. 108, No. D14, 4407 10.1029/2002JD002670
The Met Office Hadley Centre's sea surface temperature data set, HadSST2 is a monthly global field of SST on a 5 degree latitude-longitude grid from 1850 to date. The data are neither interpolated nor variance adjusted.
The SST data are taken from the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set, ICOADS, from 1850 to 1997 and from the NCEP-GTS from 1998 to the present. HadSST2 is produced by taking in-situ measurements of SST from ships and buoys, rejecting measurements which which fail quality checks, converting the measurements to anomalies by subtracting climatological values from the measurements, and calculating a robust average of the resulting anomalies on a 5 degree latitude-longitude monthly grid. After gridding the anomalies, bias corrections are applied to remove spurious trends caused by changes in SST measuring practices before 1942. The uncertainties due to under-sampling have been calculated for the gridded monthly data as have the uncertainties on the bias corrections following the procedures described in the paper.
Rayner, N.A., P.Brohan, D.E.Parker, C.K.Folland, J.J.Kennedy, M.Vanicek, T.Ansell and S.F.B.Tett, 2006: Improved analyses of changes and uncertainties in sea surface temperature measured in situ since the mid-nineteenth century: the HadSST2 data set. Journal of Climate, 19(3) pp. 446-469.
The Hadley Centre sea-surface temperature diurnal temperature range climatology is a 5 degree latitude-longitude gridded climatology of the diurnal range of sea surface temperature as measured by drifting buoys.
The SST data are taken from the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set, ICOADS, from 1990 to 1997 and from the NCEP-GTS from 1998 to the present. HadDTR is produced by taking in-situ measurements of SST from drifting buoys, separating them into hourly bins according to the local time of the measurements, rejecting measurements which fail quality checks, converting the measurements to anomalies by subtracting climatological values from the measurements, and calculating a robust average of the resulting anomalies on a 5 degree latitude-longitude monthly grid. A function describing the shape of the average diurnal cycle is then fitted to the data and the diurnal temperature range is extracted.
Kennedy J.J., P. Brohan, and S.F.B.Tett, 2007: A global climatology of the diurnal variations in sea-surface temperature and implications for MSU temperature trends. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, No. 5, L05712 doi:10.1029/2006GL028920.
A new surface boundary dataset for uncoupled simulations with the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM).
A merged product based on the monthly mean Hadley Centre sea ice and SST dataset version 1 (HadISST1) and version 2 of the NOAA weekly optimum interpolation (OI) SST analysis. These two source datasets were also used to supply ocean surface information to the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40). The merged product provides monthly mean sea surface temperature and sea ice concentration data from 1870 to the present: it is updated monthly, and it is freely available for community use. The merging procedure was designed to take full advantage of the higher-resolution SST information inherent in the NOAA OI.v2 analysis.
OceanSITES is a worldwide system of long-term, deepwater reference stations measuring dozens of variables and monitoring the full depth of the ocean, from air-sea interactions down to 5,000 meters.
Since 1999, the international OceanSITES science team has shared both data and costs in order to capitalize on the potential of the moorings and ship-based time series. The growing network now consists of about 30 surface and 30 subsurface arrays. Satellite telemetry enables near real-time access to OceanSITES data by scientists and the public.
OceanSITES is an integral part of the Global Ocean Observing System. The network complements satellite imagery and other in-situ observation data (like Argo floats) by extending the dimensions of time and depth.
The TAO/TRITON array consists of approximately 70 moorings in the Tropical Pacific Ocean, telemetering oceanographic and meteorological data to shore in real-time via the Argos satellite system. The array consists of NOAA TAO moorings in the eastern and central Pacific, and Japanese TRITON moorings in the western Pacific. TAO/TRITON moorings measure surface meteorological parameters, upper ocean temperatures and, at some locations, ocean currents.
PIRATA is a program designed to study ocean-atmosphere interactions in the tropical Atlantic that affect regional climate variability on seasonal, interannual and longer time scales. The array was originally developed in the mid-1990s and has undergone expansions and enhancements since 2005 to improve its utility for describing, understanding, and predicting societally relevant climate fluctuations.
Data can also be retrieved here.
The main component of GLOSS is the 'Global Core Network' (GCN) of 290 sea level stations around the world for long term climate change and oceanographic sea level monitoring.
Long-term monitoring of the Florida Current by NOAA of the transport variations of the Florida Current using a submarine cable and snapshot estimates made by shipboard instruments.
There are two types of data available: in situ transport estimates from the calibration cruises, and transport estimates from the calibrated cable voltages. The in situ section data represents transports integrated either from dropsonde or lowered acoustic doppler profiler (LADCP) data. Dropsonde or LADCP data are collected at nine sites across the Florida Straits at roughly the same location as the submarine cable.
NSIDC offers a wide variety of sea ice products derived from passive microwave sensors (satellite era: 1978 onwards) and other sources. A complete list of sea ice products is given here.
Bootstrap Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I
Comiso, J. 1999, updated 2007. Bootstrap sea ice concentrations from NIMBUS-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I, [list dates you used]. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media.
For more information see here.
The project is to develop an enhanced air-sea heat flux analysis product for the global oceans for the past 50 years. The product integrates satellite observations with surface moorings, ship reports, and atmospheric model reanalyzed surface meteorology. The NOAA CLIVAR Atlantic program supported the initial pilot effort in demonstrating that improved daily flux fields can be obtained by synthesizing observational data with weather prediction models. The current on-going 50-year global heat flux analysis is sponsored by the NOAA Office of Climate Observations (OCO) and Climate Change Data and Detection (CCDD) through the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research (CICOR).
Principal Investigators: Lisan Yu and Bob Weller
Reliable estimates of the air-sea fluxes of heat, freshwater and momentum are vital to improve our understanding of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system. The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOC) - formerly Southampton Oceanography Centre (SOC) - flux climatology has been used in a wide range of research projects worldwide.
Principal Investigator: Simon Josey
This dataset contains the complete set of global air-sea heat and water flux components computed from version 2 of CORE (Common Ocean Reference Experiment) atmospheric state fields starting from 1949.
The air-sea fluxes are derived from bulk formulae applied to atmospheric state fields from multiple sources together with a merged Hadley-OI SST product at monthly resolution. The primary atmospheric input data are based on NCEP reanalyses at 6-hourly resolution. In addition, satellite-based radiation, precipitation, and sea ice concentration are used, at resolutions from daily to monthly. Some of the input data have been adjusted to agree in the mean with a variety of more reliable satellite and in situ measurements that themselves are either too short in duration or too regional in coverage. Fluxes have been temporally averaged as needed for distribution as monthly means.
The dataset is also supported and distributed by GFDL
Large, W. and S. Yeager, 2004: Diurnal to decadal global forcing for ocean and sea-ice models: the datasets and flux climatologies. NCAR Technical Note: NCAR/TN-460+STR, CGD Division of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research.
The SeaWinds scatterometer is a microwave radar designed specifically to measure ocean near-surface wind speed and direction.
The monthly data set consists of two files containing monthly averaged precipitation rate values. Values are obtained from 5 kinds of satellite estimates (GPI,OPI,SSM/I scattering, SSM/I emission and MSU). The enhanced file also includes blended NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis Precipitation values. The other just includes the satellite estimates.Pentad data is also available. This data set consists of monthly averaged precipitation rate values (mm/day). The data range is approximately 0 to 70mm/day. The pentad dataset consists of 73 pentads per year with the 12th pentad covering Feb 25-Mar 1 whether or not there is a leap year. The pentad starts on the date stored in the netCDF file.
Aviso have been distributing altimetric data worldwide since 1992. Altimetric measurements of sea surface height from Topex/Poseidon-ERS, Jason-Envisat are available.
This project is developing a processing system and data center to provide operational ocean surface velocity fields from satellite altimeter and vector wind data.
Sea level research at CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC) is focused on understanding recent (20th century and early 21st century) sea level change as a basis for improving projections of future sea level rise. Data is used from tide gauges and satellite altimeters to determine past changes in global mean and regional sea level. The following is a list of data avaliable from the CSIRO sea level website:
- Reconstructed GMSL for 1870 to 2001 as described in Church and White (2006).
- Reconstructed sea-surface heights for 1950 to 2001 as described in Church et al. (2004), that has been extended to the end of 2001.
- Combined TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 sea level fields.
- Ocean Heat Content (OHC) and thermosteric GMSL for 1950 to 2003 as described in Domingues et al. (2008)
Domingues, C.M., J.A. Church, N.J. White, P.J. Gleckler, S.E. Wijffels, P.M. Barker and J.R. Dunn, 2008: Improved estimates of upper-ocean warming and multi-decadal sea-level rise. Nature, 453, 1090-1094, doi:10.1038/nature07080.
The mission of the UHSLC is to collect, process, distribute, and analyze in-situ tide gauge data from around the world in support of climate research. Three online databases are available; the research quality data, the GLOSS/CLIVAR "fast delivery" data, and the JCOMM Sea Level Program in the Pacific map data. Various indices and calculations focused on the Pacific Ocean are calculated from the sea level data and archived:
-Global Sea Level Deviations
-Pacific Ocean Sea Level Deviations
-Pacific Ocean Sea Level Anomalies
-Tropical Pacific Upper Ocean Volume
-Tropical Pacific Current Indices
-Tropical Pacific Topography
Acoustic thermometry can be used to obtain large-scale heat content. Acoustic thermometry takes advantage of an acoustic waveguide deep within the ocean that traps and carries sounds over long distances. This waveguide, known as the "sound channel" or SOund Frequency And Ranging (SOFAR) channel, is centered on the ocean depth where the speed of sound is at a minimum. Acoustic travel times provide direct 3D measurements of the horizontally and vertically averaged temperature along the paths traversed by the sound, suppressing the effects of small-scale ocean variability that dominate measurements at a point.
The CLIVAR Ocean Sythesis Directory has a comprehensive list of Ocean Synthesis/Reanalysis Efforts, including detailed information on the model domain, resolution, assimilated data, assimilation method, the forcing and relaxation used, and links to the products.
This assimilation system consists of an Ensemble Kalman Filter applied to GFDL's coupled climate model (CM2.1).
The data available online is ocean model ensemble means formulated into monthly time series in one, five and ten year chunks. The data is available on its native grid (tripolar grid) or interlolated onto a latitude/longitude grid. CF conventions are followed for the naming of variables.
* mld_OD- mixed layer depth (m)
* mpe_OF- precipitation minus evaporation (m s-1)
* river_OF- river water flux (m s-1)
* sfc_hflux_OF- surface heat flux (W m-2)
* so_O1- salinity (psu)
* tau_x_OF- zonal wind stress (N m-2)
* tau_y_OF-meridional wind stress (N m-2)
* thetao_01- potential temperature (K)
* uo_01- eastward sea water velocity (m s-1)
* vo_01- northward sea water velocity (m s-1)
* wo_OD- upward Sea water velocity (m s-1)
The ECCO code is based on the MIT general circulation model (MITgcm). ECCO products as well as input fields and quality-controlled observations are freely available from several data servers through various applications (including DODS/OPeNDAP, LAS, GDS, Dapper, SRB, Ingrid). A summary of available ECCO products and data servers can be found here.
Cruises conducted as part of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), JGOFS, and the NOAA Ocean-Atmosphere Exchange Study (OACES) over the decade of the 1990s have created an oceanographic database of unparalleled quality and quantity. These data provide an important asset to the scientific community investigating carbon cycling in the oceans. The central objective of this project is to generate a unified data set to help determine the global distributions of both natural and anthropogenic inorganic carbon, including radiocarbon.
Key, R.M., A. Kozyr, C.L. Sabine, K. Lee, R. Wanninkhof, J. Bullister, R.A. Feely, F. Millero, C. Mordy, T.-H. Peng. 2004. A global ocean carbon climatology: Results from GLODAP. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Vol. 18, GB4031.
This database is a collection of over 22,000 seawater O-18 values made since about 1950. References to the whole database (currently version 1.17) should include the web address as follows: Schmidt, G.A., G. R. Bigg and E. J. Rohling. 1999. "Global Seawater Oxygen-18 Database". http://data.giss.nasa.gov/o18data/
The fields include, d18O, salinity, temperature, depth, latitude, longitude, reference, deuterium, year and month.