Cloud cover height and extent
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This data set comprises a variety of meteorological parameters measured every three hours (some more recent data are at hourly intervals) at the ten North Atlantic Ocean Weather Ships for the periods listed below. OWS Alpha (1947 - 1974); OWS Bravo (1953 - 1973); OWS Charlie (1945 - 1981); OWS Delta (1945 - 1973); OWS India (1947 - 1975); OWS Juliet (1947 - 1975); OWS Kilo (1954 - 1975); OWS Lima (1975 - 1983); OWS Mike (1949 - 1982); OWS Romeo (1975 - 1980). Each OWS record contains data from Norway, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Russia, the UK and the USA as appropriate. Six of the weatherships ceased operation in the mid-1970s. However data are still being collected by OWS Mike, Romeo, Charlie and Lima. More recent data from these ships may be obtained from the UK Meteorological Office.
The dataset comprises a diverse set of physical, chemical and biological data including: bacteria, carbon, chlorophyll, dissolved gases, light levels, nutrients, phytoplankton, productivity, respiration, salinity, temperature, trace elements and zooplankton. Measurements were gathered from the North Atlantic and Norwegian fjord waters between 1971 and 1998. The data arise from three sources: biological and hydrographic data collected between 1971 and 1975 at Ocean Weather Ship (OWS) India in the North Atlantic; conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) casts, water samples, net samples and meteorological data from the four week Bergen Mesocosm experiment at Espegrend Marine Biological Field Station (Norway) in 1995; and the six week RRS Discovery cruise 221 to the North East Atlantic in 1996, where physical, chemical and biological data were collected. The data were collected using a variety of methods including: more than 500 CTD and SeaSoar profiles; nearly 1000 water bottle samples; over 600 net hauls; over 450 Secchi disk deployments; nearly 4000 multisizer samples; 23 production experiments; four drifting buoy tracks and 40 days of weather observations. The PRIME programme aimed to lay the basis for mathematical models to describe the role of plankton in biogeochemical fluxes within the oceans which have implications for climate regulation. The project was hosted by the School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor. Data management was undertaken by the British Oceanographic Data Centre and over 95% of the data collected are now assembled on a CD-ROM. The data are accompanied by an extensive users' guide (covering sampling protocol documentation), the structures used to store the data, and the data interrogation tools.
The dataset comprises hydrographic data, including salinity, temperature, depth, dissolved oxygen, transmittance (for suspended sediment), chlorophyll, irradiance, and current velocities. Both oceanographic and benthic measurements of nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, silicate, phosphate and ammonium), phytoplankton and zooplankton abundance, dissolved and particulate trace metals, primary and bacterial production, sulphur compounds and halocarbons were collected, as well as atmospheric physical and chemical measurements. The data were collected in the North Sea between August 1988 and October 1990 over a series of 38 cruises on RRS Challenger. Oceanographic measurements were taken using hydrographic profilers, moored instruments and shipboard underway systems. Underway meteorological data were also collected in addition to a comprehensive atmospheric sampling programme. Both continuous and discrete water samples were collected, providing biogeochemical and biological data. These were supplemented by net hauls. Benthic processes were investigated with sediment cores taken on eight survey cruises at six sites of varied character, three being in the area of summer stratification. Water and benthic sample analyses were supplemented by results of seabed and shipboard incubation experiments. The North Sea Project evolved from a NERC review of shelf seas research, which identified the need for a concerted multidisciplinary study of circulation, transport and production. 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 - now DEFRA) and other academic institutes. The data are held at the British Oceanographic Data Centre and are available on CD-ROM.